2017 Holiday Tipping Guide: Who do you tip and how much is appropriate?

It’s the most confusing time of year for me — holiday tip time! How much is too little, too much, not needed or not allowed! Check out these considerations and guidelines you can use for tipping/gift giving to your regular service providers.

Remember, with budgets tight like they are, it’s the thought that counts. Stay within your budget and when all else fails, a note of gratitude is often worth more than any gift you could by!

Per etiquette expert Emily Post, here are some things to consider when you’re deciding how to thank people, who you will spend money on, and how much you will spend:

  • Your budget: First and foremost, you shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget.
  • If your budget does not allow for tips, consider homemade gifts; and if you’re not good with crafts or in the kitchen, remember that words are always a great way to express your thanks for a year of good service.
  • Do you already tip regularly? If you tip at the time of service, you may forgo an end of the year tip, or give a more modest holiday thank you. You may also choose to give a small gift instead.

Regular Babysitter
Up to one nights’ pay

Full Time Nanny
Up to one week’s pay (based on tenure)

Day Care Staff
Gifts or cash equaling $25-$75 for each staff member

Gifts or cash equaling $25-$100
See our article for gift ideas

House Cleaner
Budget: Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.

USPS Mail Carrier
Non-cash gifts with value up to $20 — civil servants are “not allowed” to receive cash tips or gift cards (see regulations below). Wink, wink.

Dog Walker/Pet Sitter
Cost of one visit

Pet Day Care Staff
Budget: $10 to $20 for each staff member or food for the group

Pet Day Care Staff
Budget: Cash or gift equaling up to one visit (if the same person grooms your pet all year).

Garbage Collector

Cost of one haircut

Newspaper Carrier
Budget: Gifts or cash equaling $10-$30

Package Delivery (UPS/FedEx)
Small gift in the $20 range. Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts.

*United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service are allowed to accept the following items during the holiday season:

  • Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.
  • Small gifts that have little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and are clearly no more than $20 in value.
  • Perishable items clearly worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch.

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept the following:

  • Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.

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