Guidelines for Holiday Tips and Gifts

October 27, 2016
Every Dollar Has a Job
I never wanted Mary Poppins to be my nanny. I wanted to be her when I grew up. 
-Anita Diament

The holiday season is in full swing and with that comes gift giving and tipping!  

 

While gift giving etiquette may be obvious in some instances, it can get less clear when considering gifts for people outside of your friends and family.  So, to help you navigate the season, we have put together a guide of suggested amounts for gifts and tips.  

We all have people in our lives that help us keep our families, homes and businesses on track and get through each day as we move forward throughout the year.  In many cases, the services they provide ensure we can go to work, have clean homes and stay fit, including caregivers, delivery, home maintenance, and personal care services: 

Caregivers (for kids, parents and pets, too!)

Caregivers for your children, parents and pets can be lifesavers.  They provide care, education, exercise, and attention to those you care about most.  This is the time of year to let them know how thankful you are for all that they do.  The amount of service they provide and the arrangement you have with them can dictate the appropriate gift level:

1.     Nanny/au pair – a week’s salary and a small gift;

2.     Daycare teachers – a $25-$70 gift;

3.     Home healthcare worker – a week to a month’s salary;

4.     Teacher – a small gift and a handmade card from your child;

5.     Dog walker – depending on your walker’s schedule, you may want to gift a day’s pay or a full week’s pay; and

6.     Dog groomer – half the cost to the full amount for the service.

            If you contract any of these services through an agency, you may want to contact the agency to find out if they have a gift-giving policy in effect.  If the agency prohibits gifts, consider alternatives like making a donation to the agency or sending in homemade cookies to the office.

“Neither snow nor rain…”

Despite the weather, terrain or traffic, your mail carrier delivers your mail every day and your online purchases arrive on time and in good condition.  Let those who make those deliveries know you’re grateful.  In deciding what and how much to give, consider the particular company’s gift giving restrictions:

1.     Mail carriers – are not prohibited from receiving cash gifts and gifts more than $20;

2.     FedEx – employees may accept gifts under $75,  though no cash or gift cards;

3.     UPS – workers are allowed to accept tips, but UPS discourages the practice; and

4.     Newspaper delivery - $10-$30 is standard. 

Home Maintenance:

Whether you live in a single family home or a large apartment building, it’s likely there is someone who services your home or property in some way. 

1.     Trash and recycling collectors - $10-$30, which you may want to mail directly to the collection company if you’re not home to hand deliver it;

2.     Doorman - $25-$100;

3.     Regular cleaning person – the cost of one visit;

4.     Landscapers/gardeners - $20-$50 per person or if you have just one person doing the work, the cost of one visit;

5.     Parking garage attendant - $10-$50; and

6.     Building’s handyman, superintendent and custodian - $20-$100.

If you have someone who always goes the extra mile, such as a handyman who’s prompt and efficient or a doorman who is quick to carry heavy packages for you, then a larger tip may be warranted. 

Personal Services:

It’s hard work keeping you fit, perfectly coiffed and beautiful, but recognizing the efforts of those who do is easy and may also buy you scheduling flexibility when you really need it.  In deciding whether to tip and how much, consider this:

1.     Hairdresser/manicurist – if you’re a frequent visitor, tip the cost of one visit.  If you’re a less frequent customer, then $20.  However, if you tip generously through the year, you do not need to give an extra tip at the end of the year;

2.     Personal trainer – up to the cost of one  cost;

3.     Massage therapist – also cost of one visit; and

4.     Golf or Tennis instructor – a thoughtful gift.

If you’re unable to tip or give a gift, a thoughtful thank you note will acknowledge the good work these people do for you throughout the year.  Another effective gesture of gratitude is to send a thank you note to the supervisors of the people who provide you with great service throughout the year, letting them know how impressed you are with the service you receive.  

Good feedback is appreciated by both the supervisor and the people who are helping you out. 

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