The Tradition of Holiday Tipping

If you have not already distributed presents and Christmas gifts to people who work for you, Boxing Day (December 26) is  traditionally a time when servants were recognized with gifts of cash and is a perfect opportunity to do it.

Wondering how much to tip people who work for you?

The postman isn’t supposed to get cash. I wish I had known this, but you are not supposed to give postal workers cash, and they are not supposed to take it.  It’s against their policies.  They can accept presents with a value of less than $20.  My postman took the money I gave him, but I’ll remember that next year.

Don’t forget your regular baby sitter or nanny. You should give your sitter the equivalent of a night’s pay, plus a small token gift from your child. Your nanny should get a substantial cash bonus, equivalent to a week’s pay, plus a small wrapped gift.

Did you know you were supposed to tip your personal trainer? I didn’t.  If you have been working with a personal trainer for a year, regularly, tip them the equivalent of one training session.  I haven’t worked with a trainer for a while (can you tell? 😉  But I have given my workout instructors small gifts, like bubble bath sets.

Say thank you to your child’s teacher. I hope you don’t have to recognize as many people (16+) as I do around the holidays.  When you have a child with special needs, you spend a lot of time saying thank you in as many ways as you can.  But if your child just has one or a few teachers, I find that teachers appreciate consumable gifts, like fragrance or bath sets, or candles, since they get a lot of stuff from students.  Also music CDs have been a big hit.  Evidently, they already get plenty of ornaments and cookies.

Random tipping. My mom randomly tips people, and I think this is a nice custom around the holidays.  If someone gives you nice service in a fast-food restaurant, or elsewhere, and you slip them $5 with a quiet Merry Christmas, they will appreciate it.

There are lots of other guidelines for tipping, e.g. for dog-walkers and barbers, but I thought these would be the most common.

Oh, are you traveling for the holidays?  Bring lots of cash for tips!

  • Don’t forget, in a hotel, anyone who helps you with a bag, it’s about $1 to $2 a bag. The person who ultimately gets the tip is the person who takes the bags to your room.That can be confusing in a big hotel where it seems like your bags are shuttled between a lot of people.
  • Leave $3 to $5 a day for the maid.
  • If you call down for something, like an extra pillow, then tip $1 to $2 per item when it’s brought to the room.
  • You don’t have to add extra for room service — the gratuity is always there on the bill, isn’t it?  But they always seem to expect a little something, so be prepared with a couple of extra dollars.
  • Help from a concierge or doorman with recommendations or directions is about $5 (something I myself did not know until now).
  • You tip the valet who takes your car when he brings your car back, not when he takes your car, and $3 is acceptable.
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