The Ins and Outs of Holiday Tipping | WaterStone Bank

The holidays are a time for spreading warmth, good cheer and—in some cases—a little bit of extra cash or gifts to the people providing important services in your life.

Curious about the proper etiquette for tipping around the holidays? Here are some guidelines for who should receive gratuity and how much you should tip before the end of the year.


1. Hairstylists

A 15 to 20 percent tip is already standard, but around the holidays, consider doubling your usual tip amount.


2. House cleaners

It’s a good practice to tip house cleaners around the holidays, and the amount depends on how often they visit your home—a tip could run anywhere from $50 for the occasional house cleaner to a full month of pay for live-in help.


3. Postal carriers

Postal employees aren’t legally allowed to accept cash tips or gift cards, per U.S. Postal Service policy. But you can show appreciation for the neighborhood mail carrier with a thoughtful gift valued at $20 or less.


4. Child and senior care providers

This one depends on your relationship with the provider. The Emily Post Institute suggests a generous cash gift for a live-in nanny and more modest gifts for your regular babysitter and day care staff.

For home health care and nursing home employees, a thoughtful gift is appropriate, as long as their employers allow gifting. If you’re sending a holiday gift to a large group of providers, consider something sharable, like a fruit basket or breakfast treats.


5. Other people to tip around the holidays

Landscapers, doormen, dog walkers, personal trainers, delivery drivers—you may want to consider tipping each of these individuals, along with anyone else who regularly provides services for you throughout the year.

When in doubt, refer to the Emily Post Institute’s guidelines for determining who to tip and how much to give. Also consider the customs and traditions for tipping where you live, and ask friends and family what they recommend. You can also ask at the establishment (e.g. the salon, day care center, etc.) if you aren’t sure whether tipping is customary or even allowed.


Ultimately, the decision to tip or not depends on your relationship with the service provider and, of course, your budget—a heartfelt, homemade gift can be just as meaningful and appreciated as a cash tip.

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