Christmas Tipping: Who Gets What

Christmas Tipping: Who Gets What

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Christmas tipping tips for thoughtful consumers.

My father-in-law worked as a doorman for more than 50 years at a Manhattan high-rise apartment. He did not make much money throughout the year, but at Christmas time he collected huge tips. It is customary for tenants to reward various building management people in Dec., including the superintendent, doorman and the janitor.

Tipping beyond restaurants and other special services may seem foreign to you. Then again, you may be missing out on a very expected protocol that should be followed. After all, if you expect good service the rest of the year, then remembering these service providers at Christmas with a tip is the best way to go.

Rule of Thumb

Consider that any service you regularly enjoy such as hair cuts, personal training, pet groomers and the like means that your tip should equal one visit or one week’s service. For your hairdresser, that does not mean paying her $150 to match her full blown service. Instead, if she charges $30 for a hair cut and a blow dry, then give her that amount in cash. Don’t worry about whether she claims the tip on her taxes or not; that is her responsibility.

Classroom Teachers

Children in elementary school customarily buy their teacher a Christmas present. This can be a mug, classroom supplies or a gift card to the coffee shop. You might also consider getting with other parents to pool your money. In this case you might ask parents to contribute $5 a piece for a classroom gift amounting to $100 or more. If you want to give her more, allow parents to contribute more. Be mindful that not all families can afford to be as generous as you.

Service Providers

Do you have a newspaper carrier? Does the same package delivery person visit your home on a regular basis? Perhaps you have someone cut your grass. These people should be given $20 at Christmas notes US News & World Report.

Postal Workers

The United States Postal Service does not allow its carriers to accept money from customers. It does, however, allow people to provide a gift so long as it is not worth more than $20. Likely, you can give a gift card worth $20 and no one will object. Not certainly your regular mail carrier.

Daycare Providers

If you hire a person to take care of your children while you are at work, this person should receive a handsome tip. That tip might range from $100 to $300, or it could equal a week’s salary. Give this person cash in an envelope — do not add it to their weekly paycheck. If you do not have a daycare provider, but rely on a regular babysitter, it is appropriate to give that individual what you usually provide for one night’s care. Also, a gift made by your child can be given in addition to cash.

Residential Building Doormen

Now for the really tricky tip: what do you give the doorman at your residential building? Most buildings have multiple doormen, so expect to provide tips to each one. Figure that $20 per person is a very good place to start. However, you may want to ask other tenants what they recommend. Any tip that you give at Christmas goes over and beyond the tipping that you give at other times of the year.

Tipping Considerations

There may be other people in your life that you can tip too including sanitation workers, the school secretary, and your housekeeper. Consider that these people do not make much money throughout the year, so be as generous as possible with your Christmas cheer.

See AlsoChristmas Tree Shopping Tips, Fresh Style

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