It always pays to be generous to the helpful people who take care of you, whether it’s a housekeeper who goes above and beyond or a hairdresser who’s extra good to your locks. And there’s no better time to show your appreciation than during the holidays, in the form of thoughtful holiday tips. So, how much is standard to tip at the holidays, and who should get a gift versus a cash? While specific amounts will vary by your location, circumstances, and budget, here’s a handy holiday tipping guide to help answer all your etiquette questions.
Building superintendent – $20 to $100, depending on how responsive and helpful your super has been.
Doorman – $20 to $100. If there are multiple doormen, $20 or more for each is fine.
Elevator operator/other building staff – $20 to $50. Check with your building association to see if there is a holiday tip pool that is shared by all of the building’s employees.
Landscaper/gardener – $20 to $50. If they come frequently, give up to a week’s pay.
Pool cleaners – For a regular crew, the price of one cleaning, to divide among themselves. If a different employee shows up each visit, holiday tipping is unnecessary.
Newspaper carrier – $10 to $30, or the equivalent of one month of the subscription price. Sometimes you can include a tip when you pay your bill. Remember that adults usually do this job these days.
Handyman – $15 to $40, depending on how much work you’ve had him do.
Trash and recycling collectors – $10 to $30 each for private service; for public service, check your local municipality for regulations as some areas may not allow tipping.
Christmas-Tree Carrier – A $20 cash tip is appropriate for home delivery; $10 for an attentive carrier who also offers service while you choose a tree; $5 if the person has just helped you bundle it up and load it onto the car.
Mechanic – If you go regularly for service, tip $20.
Gift wrapper – If tips are allowed, go with $1 to $2 per package, up to $10 total.
Doctor/therapist – Cash gifts are generally prohibited. Platters of cookies or fruit are thoughtful gifts that benefit the entire staff.
Day-care staff – A gift or cash tip in the amount of $35 to $70 for each staff member who works with your child(ren) and a small handmade gift from your child(ren).
Dry cleaner – Since it’s a team effort, consider dropping off a box of donuts or a basket of fruit for the whole staff to enjoy.
Assistant – In addition to any end-of-the-year bonus, give a gift or gift card worth at least $50, depending on your position in the company and the assistant’s length of service. Avoid perfume, clothing, or anything that could be perceived as too personal.
Boss – While not necessary, a simple gift is a nice gesture. Talk to coworkers to see if they’d like to chip in to buy a gift card or a restaurant gift certificate.
Teacher/tutor – Don’t spend more than $25. Assuming the school allows gifts, give something such as a bookstore or restaurant gift certificate, a picture frame, or a coffee shop gift card, accompanied by a hand-written thank-you note. Gifts aren’t as common at middle schools and high schools where each child has five or more teachers.
Home health employees/private nurse – A modest gift that shows your appreciation. Cash is not a good option. Be sure to check with the agency first, as some prohibit gifts.
Nursing home employees – Check company policy. Cash is not appropriate, but something that can be shared among the staff, like chocolate, cookies, or flowers, is a great idea.
Letter carrier/package courier – While nothing is expected, a small gift or gift card in the $20 range is a nice gesture. Per United States Postal Service policy, gifts more valuable than $50 per calendar year are prohibited, as is giving cash or gift cards that can be used as cash.
Nanny/au pair – A tip equal to one or two week’s pay, plus a personal gift from your child(ren).
Babysitter – Cash or a gift equal to one or two night’s pay. A personal gift from your child(ren) is always appreciated as well.
Housekeeper – Up to one week’s pay and/or a gift.
Dog walker – One week’s pay and/or a gift. While tips are the norm, a down vest or good gloves for winter walks, a massage, and other spa treatments are all thoughtful gift options.
Pet groomer – A tip or gift in the ballpark of the price of one session.
Hairstylist/manicurist/barber – The cost of one visit, or a gift of equivalent worth. If you deal with more than one person at a given establishment, give cash so they can split it among themselves.
Personal trainer/yoga instructor/massage therapist – Up to one session’s fee or a modest gift, depending on how often you see them and whether they comes to your home. (Avoid giving chocolate, cookies, or other unhealthy foods.)
Day-care staff – A gift or cash tip in the amount of $25 to $70 for each staff member who works with your child(ren) and a small handmade gift from your child(ren). If only one person takes care of your kids, shoot for the higher end of that range. A gift certificate is fine, but take the time to include a hand-written card.
Personal caregiver – Up to a week/month’s salary and/or a modest gift.