At the end of the year, people like to show their appreciation to the people who help them throughout the year. I’ve been receiving a lot of requests for last year’s holiday tipping guide, but I was worried it might be out of date. However, according to someone who sounded important on the news, inflation is low — so these suggestions should still work!

This year I would like to shine the spotlight on one person who appears in these guides every year, but is often underappreciated.

I’m talking about the teachers. Ethics laws prevent us from showering them with champagne for the work they do every day — like teaching our kids to READ! — but we can do our best to make sure that teachers have the tools they need from parents to do their job. For example, if your kid is required to bring in glue sticks, you might send an extra one in case a classmate doesn’t have any. Things like kids missing supplies are the “not my problem” kind of problems that teachers deal with every day. As you make your way down your list, I hope you’ll linger a little longer at the teachers’ names.

  • Live-in nanny or au pair: a week’s pay
  • Assistant: $25 – $50
  • Hair Stylist: Equivalent of one session
  • Teachers: Small gift or gift certificate; volunteering time
  • School Nurse: Gift card or small gift
  • Live-in help: A week’s pay, plus a thoughtful gift
  • Housekeeper: Equivalent of a day’s or week’s pay
  • Gardener: Equivalent of a week’s service
  • Landscaping crew: Equivalent of a week’s service, divided among the crew
  • Pool cleaning crew: Equivalent of one session, divided among the crew
  • Garbage/recycling: If city permits, $10-$30 each for extra holiday effort
  • Newspaper delivery: Between $10 – $35

Our friends at Brick Underground once again covered all building-related holiday tipping issues in their yearly tipping guide, including this handy cheat sheet:

  • Super, resident manager:  $75-$175 on average (broad range: $50-$500)
  • Doorman and/or concierge (the latter handles more personal requests, like lining up an emergency dog-walker):  $25-$150 on average (broad range: $10-$1,000)
  • Porter, handyman, and maintenance staff: $20-$30 on average (broad range: $10-$75)
  • Garage attendant: $25-$75 on average (broad range $15-$100)

And while most service providers are thrilled to receive your gift, there are certain people who might be dumbfounded if you offered them much more than a card. People like:

  • doctors
  • dentists
  • accountants (and allied professionals like bookkeepers)
  • lawyers
  • government workers

The people above have a higher duty to you, enshrined in laws. Their service should always be the same, and there’s no reason to compensate for low wages — as is the case with servers at restaurants, who earn less than minimum wage.

Showing your appreciation for good service is great, but the feeling you get from putting a little bounce in the step of someone you like and care about is better. I’m a big believer in “you get what you give,” so I think holiday gifting is an excellent way to start an excellent New Year.

Happy holidays!