Holiday tips have become an accepted—and often expected—gesture of appreciation. But how much, to whom, and for what?
We've scoured the holiday tipping guides and consulted with etiquette expert Anna Post, to bring you the following holiday tipsheet.
- Make a list of people to thank, who have provided a regular service to you this year (cleaning person, handyman, guitar teacher, salonista, babysitter).
- Decide how. Cash is appropriate for someone you don't know well (doorman); a small gift might be best for those you do. "Consider your relationship to the person," says Post.
- Let your wallet be your guide. You want to express gratitude—not break the bank. "There are no minimums you have to meet," Post emphasizes.
A few of our favorite tipping specifics, inspired by several websites, personal experience and the always money-friendly, down-to-earth Emily Post Institute:
- If you tip your hair stylist, cleaner or personal trainer regularly, a holiday bonus can be small—15%-20%. If not, consider adding the cost of one session.
- Always ask around. Tipping traditions (and amounts) vary widely across the country.
- If your weekly babysitter adores chocolate, say, splurge on some sweets, plus extra cash (and a card from the family!).
- Price compare. Sometimes a cash tip is cheaper than a gift.
- Beware of giving alcohol and baked goods, unless you're certain of a person's habits and allergies.