‘Tis the season for giving. That includes holiday tipping -- a time to say thank you to those who make our lives a little bit easier year-round.
But who should be on that list? Should we tip government employees like the mailman? How much should we spend? How do we demonstrate our appreciation without blowing
Many in the service industry emphasize they don’t expect a tip or a gift, but they appreciate the gesture.
“I don’t ever expect it,” said Zoe Luman, who owns Hair by Zoe based in the Shear Finesse salon on Hazard Avenue in Enfield. “But I’m appreciative and I send thank-you cards.”
If they are longtime clients, Luman says she usually gets a tip after services rendered. In addition, she often receives a holiday card with $25-$50 inside. Or, she may be given gift certificates or small presents, like mugs or candles.
“Our clients are very good to us over the holidays,” said Danielle Genovesi, owner of the pet grooming salon, Honey’s Haven on Park Road, in West Hartford. She said many clients tip throughout the year and still give holiday tips -- which often is the cost of one grooming session -- but tips can vary from $5 to $100. Her staff has also received gifts such as chocolate, popcorn, bottles of wine and candles. “We appreciate anything,” laughed Genovesi.
For teachers, the holiday gifts are “usually not monetary,” noted Joan Parks, director of Avon Nursery School on West Main Street in Avon. Often, teachers receive homemade baked goods or a gift made by a child, but “we don’t expect anything,” said Parks.
There are no formal, hard and fast rules about holiday tipping. Averages and ranges vary depending on family budgets and the types of services. Etiquette expert Emily Post’s website, www.emilypost.com, offers tips on what to consider when deciding how much to spend:
* Consider homemade gifts if your budget doesn’t allow for tips. If you aren’t crafty or handy in the kitchen, a handwritten note is always appropriate.
* If you tip regularly at the time of service, you don’t have to tip at the end of the year. Or, you can select a small gift as a thank you.
In general, it is thoughtful at holiday time or the end of the year to tip those who serve us all year long, and those with whom we have a personal relationship. These tips are customarily delivered in December, prior to Christmas Day.
Au pair or live in nanny
One week’s pay and a gift from your child or children
One evening’s pay and a small gift from your child or children Day care provider
$25-$50, or gift for each staff member Teacher
Homemade gift from your child; gift certificates to places like a bookstore or office supply store ; Homebaked goods
Coaches, tutors, music, dance teachers Small gift from your child NEWSPAPER, POSTAL CARRIERS, GARBAGE COLLECTORS
Note: According to the USPS website, the United States Postal Service does not allow their employees to accept cash gifts. Postal Service employees may receive snacks and beverages, perishable items (i.e. flowers, chocolates, cookies) less than $20 worth; or items of small intrinsic value (i.e. pens, coffee mugs.)
USPS Mail Carrier
Non-cash gifts with value up to $20. Newspaper Carrier
Daily, $25-$50; Weekend, $10 UPS Driver
$15 for regular driver Garbage Collector Because so many garbage collectors are drivers who use “arms” that do the work, there is no need to tip. PET SERVICES
Cost of a session Dog walker or sitter
1-2 week’s usual pay PERSONAL CARE
Note: Like other service professionals, holiday tips for personal-care providers generally go to those with whom we have established relationships. Hairdressers, manicurists and massage therapists, for example, often receive gifts or cash tips from regular clients. If the person is the shop's owner, keep in mind the total cost of the service generally goes to them, so a cash tip may not be necessary. But the gesture is usually appreciated.
Cost of one session Hairdresser/stylist
Cost of one session Massage therapist
Cost of one session Personal trainer
Cost of one session
One week’s pay. This is for a maid employed directly. For those using a service, with a different maid each time, no tip is necessary.
Note: Tips to apartment staff are highly appreciated and well-noted. Cash in envelopes for the entire staff is recommended.
Apartment building superintendent
$50-$200. Tip less if you tip throughout the year. Apartment doorman/concierge
$10-$80 or more, depending upon the building. Handyman
$15-$40 Elevator operators