The Most Complete Holiday Tipping Guide (USA)
Holiday tipping says thank you to people you usually don’t tip and shows appreciation for special effort by those you do tip during the year. In today’s difficult times, even a small tip is appreciated.
Cash or gift cards in a sealed envelope with a note handed to the person is best if possible. Some businesses pool holiday tips to distribute them to people you see frequently and those behind the scenes. If your budget is tight, prioritize the people who impact your life the most. Non-monetary gifts like providing positive feedback to their manager or mentioning them on social media is also nice.
Want to give a gift card with impact? Give a gift card to a local business! Everyone wins. You can find local gift cards here.
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Baby & Child Care
Au Pair – Cash or gift card equal to one week’s fee or salary.
Babysitter – Cash or gift card equal to one sitting’s fee for a sitter who comes to your home regularly.
Day Care – $10-50 per staff member depending on the services received individually during the year and how easy/difficult your child was.
Nanny – A tip equal to one week’s fee or salary.
Grooming, Beauty & Spa
Barber – For someone you use regularly, an extra cash tip equal to one session’s tip.
Hair Salon (general) -An extra tip equal to one visit’s tip depending on how regular you are and how much service they provide.
Hair Stylist – An extra tip equal to one visit’s tip depending on how regular you are and how much service they provide.
Massage – If you are a regular, you might give a small gift or cash card equal to the tip of one session.
Nail Salon – If you are a regular, you might give a small gift or cash card equal to the tip of one session.
Home Health Care– A tip equal to one week’s fee or salary for a regular person hired directly or from an agency (check agency policy on tipping, if no tipping you might give a donation in their name to a favorite charity).
Nursing Home – A gift that can be shared by all the staff, flowers and specialty food are appreciated. Or a donation made to the center on their behalf of something all residents would enjoy such as a game or decoration, but ask first for ideas and/or rules.
Personal Trainer – For a trainer you see regularly at a gym or that comes to your home/work, cash or a gift card equal to one session’s fee.
Valet/Parking Attendant – If you are a regular at a location/building, $25-100 total (about $20 per person) given to the manager in front of the staff to be split or handed out individually.
Yoga Instructor – For group lessons, consider a small cash tip or gift card ($5-25) for a favorite instructor or someone who has spent time helping you. For private sessions (especially if in your home), a tip equal to one class or one week of sessions is appropriate.
Pet Groomer – 1 session’s fee for a regular groomer at a shop or someone that comes to your home.
Pet Walker – 1 session or week’s fee for a regular walker.
Building Concierge – A small ($20-100) gift is expected, cash preferred or a gift card.
Building Doorman – A small ($20-100) gift is expected, cash preferred or a gift card.
Building Superintendent – $20-100 depending on the building, cash preferred.
Garbage Collection – $10-25, cash or gift card, if they are extra helpful during the year.
Housecleaner – For someone (on their own or through a service) that comes on a regular basis, cash equal to one session.
Lawn/Yard Care – Tips are customary but you might tip half twice a year, once during the holidays and once after a hard weather period (snow in the winter or heat in the summer).
Newspaper Delivery – $10-25 depending on daily or weekly service, more if you have a long driveway or live in an area with bad weather (snowy winters, hot summers).
Pool Service – Tips are customary at holidays but you may wish to tip half twice a year, once during the holidays and once before opening or closing the pool.
Gift Wrapping – $1/package for simple wrap, $2-3 for complicated or difficult packages.
Office Staff/Assistant – Cash or gift card $50-100 (more depending on how much extra or last minute help they provide), check company or HR policy first.
Mail/Postal Service – Quoted from USPS.com: All postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.
Package Delivery (FedEx, UPS) – $10-20 cash or gift card is appreciated. Businesses with many deliveries/pick-ups may wish to give more.
Restaurant Server – If you have a regular server (especially for group or business meals), a holiday gift of $20-50 is appreciated.
Teacher – Tips and gifts can be a sensitive issue. It is better to give a small personal gift or gift card ($20-50) at the end of a semester or school year. Check if the school has a policy on gifts.