Holiday Tipping: A Method to the Madness

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Holiday Tipping: A Method to the Madness

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Planning your holiday gifts is easier if you think in categories.

Holiday Tipping: A Method to the Madness By Judy Heft

In years past I’ve published holiday tipping guides from various sources that were very detailed about the appropriate amounts to tip specific service providers, but this year I want to do something different: a method behind the tipping madness.

The first step is to remember why you are tipping. It shouldn’t feel like an obligation, nor should you be doing it just to keep up with the Joneses. Think of it like a movie where the characters take each other for granted until a singular event happens that tears them apart and, inevitably, one of them says “I never got the chance to say ‘I love you’!” This is your chance to tell the people who help throughout the year that you love them!

  • For people who help you in fixed sessions—like a dog groomer, hair stylist, or personal trainer—the appropriate holiday gift is the amount of one session.
  • For people who help you on a continual basis, most etiquette authorities recommend one to two week’s pay based on performance.
  • Holiday Tipping: A Method to the Madness By Judy HeftEach person who works with your children (outside of the home) should always receive a small gift from the kids on top of a modest tip in the $25-$50 range.
  • Government workers like trash collectors and postal workers generally cannot accept cash or any gift over $20 in value.
  • If you live in a building with support staff you see regularly, such as doormen, you can feel secure keeping it under $100.
  • For anyone you employ, such as a personal assistant, one to two week’s pay based on performance is appreciated.

In addition to showing your gratitude, take comfort in the fact that many of the people you tip will be paying it forward in the form of gifts to the people who make their lives great. With that in mind, consider gifting as early as possible in the season.

And don’t forget about the other people in your neighborhood who are facing tough times, or who are alone this holiday season. Sometimes the best “tip” is a warm invitation to a hot supper, or even just a little help digging out a car. Not all gifts cost money, but they can still be priceless.

Happy Holidays from Judith Heft & Associates! See you next year!

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