WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts 12-16: Holiday tipping

Posted December 16, 2010


During the holidays, it’s tradition to tip service providers who assist you throughout the year. Emily Post points out that it’s more like thanking them, vs. tipping them. Tipping seems so obligatory but thanking is really a gesture of kindness for the help they have given in the last year. Granted, it’s their jobs, but I still like the practice of offering some sort of thanks, even if it’s just some homemade cookies. Here are some guidelines to consider when deciding who and what to tip.

What’s your budget: The most important aspect is to stay within your budget. Decide how much you have to give overall and don’t go over that number. If you have no monetary budget, bake some cookies or banana bread or write a kind thank you note,

Who is on your tip list: Decide who it is you would like to tip. Here are some of the folks usually found on the holiday tip list:

Child’s teacher
Newspaper delivery person
Garbage collector
Daycare workers
Pet sitter
Postal carrier – can’t accept cash, checks, or gift cards but can accept gifts valued at $20 or less.
Doorman, elevator operator, etc for those in apartments in larger cities.

How much to tip: The next step is to decide how much you want to spend on each person. A generally accepted rule of thumb is to tip the value of one session for self-employed providers such as the housekeeper, hairdresser or babysitter. For the rest of the folks, tips range from $15 - $25, according to a Consumer Reports survey
conducted in early 2010. For a long list of folks to consider tipping as well as suggested tips, see this Emily Post article. For postal carriers, there are specific rules about what you can and cannot give. See the article for all the details.

Use the above guidelines to let folks know you appreciate their dedication and assistance throughout the year and to let them know you look forward to working with them in the coming year. If you have any other suggestions or “tips” for tipping, please share them.


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  • Oxymoron02 Dec 16, 2010

    kcampbell, that's pretty standard as far as I can tell. I mean, if he hadn't would you even know where to send the tip?

  • kcampbell113 Dec 16, 2010

    I get the tipping thing but I did have an issue with the person who delivers our paper including a self addressed envelope inside our Sunday paper. This seemed a little over the top to me.