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Holiday Tipping Guide on Who to Tip, How Much: Recommended Christmas Tip Amounts for Mailmen, Teachers, Others

How much should you tip your mailman this holiday season? Your child’s teacher? What about the baby sitter? Pet sitter? Hairstylist?
When it comes to holiday tipping, it can be difficult to know how much money is generally expected and acceptable.
Why Should I Give a Holiday Tip?
Holiday tips are a great way to show appreciation to the workers who serve you well all year long.
“Holiday tipping is a wonderful way to show your gratitude for services rendered throughout the year. So if there’s someone who serves you regularly throughout the year, you should consider offering a holiday tip,” explained Financial Planner Jill Olson in a December interview.
Olson added, “Like all tips, holiday tips are not mandatory, but they’re much appreciated by the person who receives a Christmas tip. And it’s important to remember that service industry workers don’t earn a whole lot to begin with – many rely on holiday tipping to pay for Christmas gifts for their family. That said, if you’re in a difficult financial situation yourself, you shouldn’t put yourself in the poor house with holiday tipping. Monetary tips are great, but even a tin of homemade cookies or some sort of homemade Christmas gift will be appreciated as a kind token of appreciation.”
Who Should I Tip for the Holidays? And How Much Should I Tip?
Most holiday tippers struggle, wondering how much money they should give as a holiday tip. Olson offered the following holiday tipping recommendations for some of the most common Christmas tipping recipients.
• Letter Carriers: A gift worth $10 to $20 and/or a homemade gift with “thank you” card
• Newspaper Carriers: $10 to $20 cash
• Teachers: $30 to $50 cash, or classroom supplies with a handmade gift from the child.
• Babysitters: The cost of one to two babysitting visits and a handmade gift from the child
• Nannies: One week’s pay, plus a small gift and/or handmade gift from the child
• Pet Sitters: The cost of one to two days of pet sitting
• Dog Walkers: The cost of two to three dog walking visits
• Doormen: $20 to $40
• Housekeeper: $25 to $50 or the cost of one to two visits
• Home Health Aides: The cost of one to two visits
• Personal Trainer or Fitness Trainer: $50 to $100 or the cost of one to two visits
• Hair Stylist: $25 to $50 or the average cost of one visit
When considering how much to give for holiday tipping, it’s important to consider factors like how frequently the individual provides the service and the tipper’s level of satisfaction with the service. Other miscellaneous factors should be considered as well when deciding how much to give as a holiday tip. Example? A resident with a mail carrier to has to climb 30 steps to get to the home’s mailbox to deliver the mail each day should give their letter carrier a holiday gift that’s on the more generous end of the spectrum.
More Advice on Holiday Tipping
When giving a holiday tip, it’s important to consider the ethical factor. Many businesses, unions, states, cities and towns have placed limits on tipping or gift value to avoid violating state ethics laws or conflict of interest laws.
For instance, United States Postal Service employees cannot accept cash tips nor can they accept a gift worth over $20. Many school districts have also put a cap on how much parents can give their child’s teacher for a holiday tip.
In North Andover, Massachusetts, the School Department put a $50 cap on holiday tipping for teachers and other school department staff because parents were going a bit overboard in the Christmas tipping department. Some teachers were receiving extravagant and expensive gifts — some worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars — including cash, trips to the spa, and gift cards.
For people who cannot afford to give a monetary tip, Olson offered this advice: “Not everyone can afford to give a generous holiday tip, but this is really a case where it’s the thought that counts. A nice Christmas card, a ‘thank you’ card, a tin of homemade cookies, a homemade gift from a child to his or her teacher or babysitter, homemade gifts or crafts – these are all wonderful options for someone who cannot afford to give a monetary tip this holiday season.”