The Quick Guide to Holiday Tipping

Are you up to speed on tipping etiquette this season?

While you tip the service people in your life all year, you may be among the many Americans who like to put forth a little extra around the holidays. But how can you prioritize “thanks for a great year” acknowledgements for your hairdresser, nanny or mail carrier?

If you’re set on giving cash, you may start by budgeting a total amount for holiday tips and then allotting the most money to the people who provide the most frequent services. However, in some situations, giving gifts may be more appropriate than giving cash. And in all situations, you should write a personal note of thanks to accompany any gift you decide to give.

Who to Tip The most important choice you have to make is who you’ll tip. According to the etiquette experts at Emily Post, these are some of the people to consider:

How Much to Tip Emily Post’s tipping guidelines are primarily based on unit of pay. For example, if you pay your babysitter $35 an evening, you might give her $35 around the holidays with a personalized gift from your child. Service people with whom you have occasional contact, like trash collectors and newspaper delivery people, would receive smaller monetary tokens of appreciation ranging from $10 to $40.

Other experts suggest dividing holiday tips into cash and gifts. They recommend giving personalized gifts to people who provide personal service. Give your landscaper and newspaper carrier $20 or $30, but give your administrative assistant or babysitter a personal gift.

After taking these suggestions into account, it’s up to you to decide what feels right and what you can afford. It’s important to remember that the U.S. Postal Service, among other agencies, prohibits mail carriers from accepting gifts of more than $20 in value. Check with your school district or daycare facility and home health agencies to find out about any restrictions that may apply when you choose gifts for their employees.

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