Don’t forget to tip this holiday season.
Your dog walker, babysitter or nanny, house cleaner, doorman, garbage collector, mail carrier, handyman, (virtual) personal trainer, etc. Basically, people outside of your inner circle who make your life run smoother throughout the year.
How much are we talking for holiday tips?
It depends. The Emily Post Institute has a big list of ranges you can check out. Like $10–$30 per garbage collector and $15–$80 each for doormen. Pick an amount based on what feels right for your neighborhood and building and how long and often you take advantage of the service. But don't round down if you've spent part of the year living somewhere besides your primary residence. Staff were still working to maintain your building while you were away.
For service providers you see regularly – like caregivers and house cleaners – tip the equivalent of one session or a week’s pay. If you already tip every time (like for your hair stylist), your usual is fine. Feel free to add another $20–$50 if you’re close.
But overall, the rules are...there are no concrete rules. Especially because the pandemic is still a thing, and inflation is making budgets tighter. Decide how much to tip based on where you live (tips are usually higher in big cities), your relationship with the person you're tipping, and what you can afford. If you can swing it, think about giving a little extra to those who might be struggling right now.
What if I’m the one who's struggling?
Comb through your holiday spending plan and your regular budget to see if there are ways to save and shift some funds over to tips. You can also try to pool tips with other people. For example, if you live in a small building, go in with your neighbors to show the super your gratitude.
And remember: it’s the thought that counts. A small homemade gift or treats can say ‘thanks for all you do.’ That’s probably best for mail carriers and other package delivery. USPS and FedEx don't allow cash tips, but they can accept gifts worth up to $20 and $75, respectively. (UPS drivers can accept tips, but are still encouraged not to.) A personal note can also go a long way. And acknowledge that a smaller tip doesn’t mean you appreciate them less.
Holiday tipping is a great way to say ‘thank you for being a friend...who helps me a lot.’ Do a little planning to make sure your wallet is in the giving spirit.
Updated on Nov 16 to include current information for 2021.