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The How-To Lounge: Tipping During the Holidays

Tipping the people who service you throughout the year during the holidays is the perfect way to say thanks. While it's completely discretionary, it is customary. But how much do you give and to whom? For some helpful tips, click here to

  • Tip according to how long you've known the person, how close your relationship is, and how often you use their services.
  • If you are not in a financial position to give extra money during the holidays, a nice hand-written thank-you note is also a very nice gesture.
  • According to Emily Post, people typically give the following amount of money to the following people:

    • Housekeeper: Up to one weeks pay or a gift
    • Babysitter: Up to one weeks pay or a gift from the entire family
    • Hair Stylist: The cost of one visit or a gift
    • Manicurist: The cost of one visit
    • Personal Trainer: The cost of one session
    • Dog Walker: One weeks pay or a gift
    • Mail Carrier: U.S. government regulations permit carriers to accept gifts worth over $20, but they cannot accept cash, so writing them a check is your best bet
    • Trash Collectors: $10–$30

    I hope these tips are helpful to you this holiday season and remember, the best way to give your tip is to accompany it with a thank-you note. To see Emily Post's entire list of who to tip during the holidays, click here.


cocca cocca 9 years
yeah, i don't usually tip these people just the regular 15% tip for me! don't really have that kind of money to be giving away :(
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
Some of these are so ridiculous. For one, I'm a student. My personal trainer has a lot more money than I do, and charges an arm and a leg to begin with. Good lord.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
AMEN GREGGIE! I dont like the fact that tips are expected. No, their not. I tip you if you did a good job, thats it and thats all. I get my hair, nails and eyebrows done, by the time Im done tipping all of them im broke!!!! I dont like but I tip...if they deserve it. Ok heres a funny story that happend to a friend of mine last week. She went to get her nails done because there was a special promotion going on: mani&pedi $19.99 - she's a student and doesnt have a lot of money so she went there with $22 in her pocket. She got her pedi, even though the lady was taking a VERY long time, and while she was getting her mani, she was asked to pay, well as she paid the $19.99 plus tax (there goes the $22), nails not even done yet, the lady goes "umm no tip?!". My friend shocked was like..."ummm yea my friend (me, I was there getting a mani) has it" So the lady continues mani and when my friend was done, though embarassed that she didnt have extra cash to tip, she left the salon.... Can you believe the lady ran after my friend as askin for a tip yelling "excuse me miss, no tip? I spent a lot time on her nails."
Nitachequita Nitachequita 9 years
I only tip my hairdresser if I'm in the salon during the holidays, but not the cost of a whole visit! (I double my usual amount - to 40%). I didn't tip my postman last year, because he wouldn't deliver my mail (I lived in an English basement. He'd deliver to the main house only, and then my landlord had to bring my mail down every day). Now that I've got my own place, I'll tip my postman this year. I also tip the nice guy who stands out in the cold by the Metro distributing the daily paper.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Although I am shocked to read about tipping the postal carrier and trash collector, I can see where if you know them, live in a community where you can get to know them, and have the means that it would be nice. Again, if you have the means. I don't, and I work so I've never even seen my postal carrier(s) or trash/recycle collectors. I do tend to tip more at restaurants during the holidays, just because I know it gets really busy and these fine folks deserve a little something extra.
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
FYI, mail carriers can NOT accept gifts over 20 bucks... seems a little confusing in the post. Twenty is the max, not the minimum. Just thought I'd clear it up.. I was a bit confused.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 9 years
Ha! If only all of us had the kind of money to tip that generously. I'm the receptionist at a salon, and a couple of days ago a woman gave her stylist a $61 dollar tip!!! Absolutely insane...I'm thinking, "What about me? I'm the one that made your appointment!" :rotfl:
remedios remedios 9 years
What??? I'm supposed to give my hairstylist a holiday present? I get my hair cut only every couple months and tip then. That isn't enough? Who decides this stuff? I hate to sound like a curmudgeon, but this list is just silly. I can see some of the regular, daily, or maybe even weekly stuff, but seriously, a manicurist? I've never in my life heard of anyone ever tipping a trash collector. But I can see the benefit in that one. And I don't even know who our mail carrier is; it's not the same person every day.
lilegwene lilegwene 9 years
LoL Marci! Funny how helpful they are all of a sudden! ;) I think it is fun to do little personal touches. I gave my mail carrier some kitchen utensils (I know she is a chef in her off-time) as well as a small check last year. We gave our garbage collectors a check, and a case of beer! They pretty much adore us. ;) Just be sincere, give what you can, and have fun with it!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
Dang- tip your hairdresser the cost of a visit? JEEZ.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I never had a doorman but my friends that did tipped their favorite the most usually about $50-$100.
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 9 years
Marci, I was just about to ask the same thing! I had no idea I was supposed to tip the mail carrier.
Marci Marci 9 years
Any suggestions on tipping the staff in a doorman building? We've only been here 4 months but I'm sure they're all expecting something from us by the way they're suddenly jumping up to help with everything. :D
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Wow I should be getting tipped big time ;) I am the housekeeper, mail carrier, trash collector, and babysitter!
red4bonez red4bonez 9 years
oh i never knew how much to tip the mail carrier. Now I do heh =) thanks
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Good Lord, some of those tips from Emily Post are HUGE. Seriously, the price of a full visit to my hairstylist? I hate that it's even expected to tip in the first place, although I do it.
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