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Sharin’ O The Green: The Rules And Regulations Of Holiday Tipping

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

If you’ve already set aside a holiday (gift) budget, you may need to revisit it. You’ve most likely including family, friends, (some) co-workers etc, but there may be a few people you didn’t figure on (especially if this is your first time out on your own, with your mate, in a new apartment or home, or with a family.

Just in case you didn’t know, the holiday season open’s the door of spreading holiday joy and cheer to everyone, and that often means “end of year” tipping for those you appreciate and employ. And, while it’s always been considered “optional”, not only is it good etiquette, but it’s a good way to maintain good relationships and ensure good service from your service and other hired professionals.

Of course there are also those people who prefer gifts to tips or for whom gifts (rather than tips) are the practiced protocol. Among these:

· Instructors and Teachers (yours or your kids’): Consider a meaningful gift instead. School or classroom supplies are always useful, as are gift certificates to school supply stores, coffee or luncheon shops or even a restaurant. Goodie baskets or a “day-pass” for pampering (at a local spa or nail salon) are always welcome and well deserved. Whatever the gift, make sure it’s useful and tasteful.


· Friends And Neighbors: Maintaining good relationships with those who’ve been helpful throughout the year is by showing your gratitude, especially at this special time of year. Giving a friend or generous neighbor a check can be viewed as an insult (instead of a kind gesture). Consider instead sending a basket of goodies or “cheer” to someone’s home. Houseplants or season plants (such as poinsettias) along with a heartfelt note of thanks and holiday wishes are also an ideal idea. Dinner and gift certificates (to their favorite restaurant or store) are also sure to be a big hit.

· Postal Employees: While the postal service discourages tips, mail carriers look forward to a show of appreciation for their hard work and service. Despite the “no tip” rule, they are allowed to receive gifts worth less than $20; and professionals point out the best way to say “thank you” is still with cash and a card. So, stick to the rules and put between $10 and $15 in a “holiday” card and leave it in your mailbox.

· Shop Owners, Or Anyone Who May Be Insulted: While you may be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like (or isn’t in need of) some additional cash, there are those who may find a financial gesture insulting. From beauty shop owners (not stylists, they are use to getting and expecting tips, and eagerly look forward to a few extra and generous holiday dollars) to some travel agents, etc., there are simply some folks you’re just better off giving either a gift certificate or (other) thoughtful gift to in lieu of money.

Tips For Tipping: According to etiquette experts, there are generally certain guidelines to follow, but frequently the amount you (ultimately) offer may be determined by a variety of variables including:

· Service Quality

· How Regularly The Service Was Performed

· Duration Of Service

· Regional Customs

· Your Budget

Regardless of your financial situation however, experts note, that you should NEVER use “lack” of finances as a reason NOT to tip. Tip whatever you can, or cancel the service all together. Keep in mind a $5 tip with a nice note is better than none at all. After all, the better you take care of those who take care of you, the more you are ensuring they’ll be happy to accommodate you.

Who Gets What And How Much:

Short But Steady Service (Workers): According to etiquette experts, these “professionals” get between $10 and $30 and include:

· Delivery people, especially newspaper delivery people (make sure to tip those who bring flowers or other holiday presents to your door) By the way, if you’re going to send flowers to a gift basket to someone’s home, make sure to add the tip to your bill or credit card and make sure to tell the person/manager you are ordering from to give the tip to the delivery person (who should be instructed NOT to take any additional tips from those he/she is delivering to, YOU”VE already taken care of that).

· Parking attendants

· Trash collectors (Both garbage and recyclables). In case you don’t see the workers, consider taping the envelope to the bottom of the garbage or recyclable bin.

Infrequent But Essential (Service Workers): Generally speaking you should tip each of these professionals the cost of the visit, but for those airing on the “conservative” side professionals suggest tipping about $20 each. Among these:

· Hairdresser or barber (though you should also tip the shampoo person more generously as well.
· Manicurist

· Personal Trainer

· Facialist

· Regular (after-hours) babysitter (not the nanny or day care worker)
If your child goes to daycare, inquire (with the director) about an acceptable tip for the primary caregiver. Generally speaking, the amount should be between $10 to $75 plus a small token of gratitude from your child.

· House cleaner (other than a full-time or live-in)

· The lawn care, snow shoveling and/or maintenance crew

· Pool cleaner

· Pet groomer

Employees: Those whose services you rely on more than just a few days a week can and should be considered employees. Typically the (monetary) holiday gift should be equal to one week’s pay (if not more). Among these:

· Nannies

· Full-time housekeepers

· Home-care attendants

· Caretakers

· Office workers and personnel

Others: Again, while tips (for these folk) are not mandatory, they are a nice gesture, and they can help relations and service throughout the year.

· Building superintendent. Ask other tenants what they usually give. The going rate can range anywhere from $20 to $200 (or more) depending on a number of factors.

· Doormen or Concierge: Generally the standard is between $10 and $100

· Bartender or wait staff (of a place you are a regular at). The “average” ranges from $20 to $50 (above the tip on the bill).








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