I’m going to be really honest — I’ve never thought about who exactly to tip extra during the holidays.
I swear, I’m not a grinchy grinch. I truly love Christmas, and I totally stress about getting the perfect gift for everyone — everyone I personally have a relationship with, at least.
BUT, I’ve never thought very much about gifts beyond my family, friends, or kids’ teachers.
Don’t get me wrong, I still tip great when we go out to eat, but it kind of stops there. I never think about going even more above and beyond for those who “serve” me during the holiday season.
I am trying to be more intentional about thinking of others, and that means being more mindful of who is working behind the scenes to make our lives just a little bit easier. It means recognizing those human beings who are going above and beyond to give us the perfect holiday season.
It also means paying attention and showing a little love to those people who have worked so hard during the year to improve life as we know it.
How to Properly Tip For The Holidays
This list is inspired by the Emily Post Institute (an etiquette resource site), with a few extra people sprinkled in for good holiday measure.
Babysitter: If you use them regularly, pay them a cash gift in the amount of one night’s average pay. You can also give them a small gift with a card from the kids.
If you use them just once or a couple of times, throw them an extra $10 to $20 per night during the holidays.
Bank Teller: Many banks don’t allow cash gifts. Make sure they are allowed to receive any kind of gift before you go in and start giving. A gift valued at up to $30 per teller is appropriate, if they are allowed.
Barber / Hairdresser: Give them a gift in the amount of what one haircut would cost. You can also choose to give them a small gift that has a similar value instead of the cash.
Barista / Coffee Shop Worker: Tip up to $5 per visit.
If it is a barista or group of coffee shop workers that you use or see regularly, you can take them goodies to share (in addition to the cash tip): i.e. cookies, chocolates. You can also offer to buy the team lunch one day.
Beauty Salon Staff (other than your usual hairdresser): Give them a joint gift in the amount of one salon visit, and ask that it be divided among the staff. You can also opt to get a small gift for those people who usually help you.
None of these are totally required, but they are greatly appreciated.
Dog Walker: If you use them regularly, it is appropriate to give them cash, up to one week’s pay. You can also opt to get them a small gift in lieu of giving cash.
If you just use them once, or maybe a couple of times, throw them an extra $5 or $10 each time they walk your dog during the holiday season.
DMV Employees: If you use them often, getting them lunch to share is appropriate. No cash.
Food Delivery Person: Tip them an additional $5 to $10 per meal during the holiday season. Or, if it is someone you see on a regular basis, you can give them a one-time tip of up to $30.
Home Health Worker: Some agencies don’t allow tipping, so make sure you check to make sure giving them a gift is considered appropriate with the company. A gift would be appropriate in this circumstance.
Gardener / Landscaper: Cash is always good, and super appreciated — $10 to $50 is appropriate.
Services That Should Be Tipped During The Holidays
Hotel Housekeeping: If you use a hotel for travel during the holidays, leave the housekeeping staff $2 to $5 per person staying in the room per day.
Kennel Staff: If you need to keep your pets in a kennel during the holiday season, give a yummy gift that the staff can share: i.e. cookies, candy
Massage therapist: Give them cash in the amount of one session. You can also opt to get them a small gift instead of cash.
Mail Carrier: Technically, the U.S. Postal Service rules state that they can’t receive cash (although our mail carrier actually gives us an envelope to leave them a tip). It is okay to get them a small gift that is valued at $20 or less.
Mechanic: If you use a private mechanic during the holiday season, give them an additional $10 to $30 for their services.
Newspaper Deliverer: They love cash — $10 to $30 is the going standard gift for Newspaper Deliverers. Sometimes, when you pay your bill during the holidays, they will let you add a tip in addition to the amount of the bill.
Nurses At Your Doctor’s Office: A gift of yummy food treats that the staff can share: i.e. fudge, cookies, candy — you can even ask if you can supply lunch one day, and take them sandwich fixings or pizza.
Nursing Home Employees: Something for the staff to share (not cash): i.e. chocolates, cookies, candies.
Nurses In The Hospital Setting (if you have been in the hospital recently): Give them the gift of yummy food that they can share for the breakroom.
You know you have packages coming every single day from Amazon or UPS. Don’t forget the delivery driver.
Package Delivery Person: Have a basket of goodies waiting at the door that they can pick from: i.e. drinks, snacks
Pastor / Minister: Many church governing bodies don’t allow cash gifts for clergy. Make sure they are allowed to receive any gifts before you give. Gift cards for things like gas or food are appropriate and appreciated.
Personal Caregiver / Personal CNA: You can give them cash — up to one month’s pay is appropriate — or get them a gift instead of the cash.
Personal Housekeeper: Give them cash in the amount of one week’s pay. You can alternately choose to get them a gift instead of cash.
Personal Trainer: Give them cash in the amount of one session. You can opt to give them a gift in lieu of cash.
Pet Groomer: Give them cash in the amount of one session with your pet. You can give them a gift instead of cash.
Teachers: No cash. You should give a gift to EACH of your child’s teachers. Main teachers should get a gift valued at up to $20. Other teachers (specialists or teacher’s aids) should get a gift valued at up to $10.
Trash Collector / Recycling Collectors: You can give them each $10 to $30, or you can get them a small gift instead
Tutor: Give a cash gift in the amount of 1 session PLUS a small gift up to $20 in value from your child.
Wait Staff / Bartender: When you go out to eat, tip your server an additional $5 or $10 each meal.
If you go to the same location and have the same server all the time, you can get them a small gift in addition to tipping them extra cash per meal.