Holiday Tipping Guide – Who and How Much



Does the thought of Holiday tipping stress you out?

Here’s some concerns that come to my mind and cause some anxiety.  Can you relate?

  • Who all do I need to tip?
  • Do I have to tip my hair dresser even if I don’t go in December and have tipped them before?
  • What’s the right amount to give?
  • Can it be a gift or does it have to be money?
  • How can I make sure they get it?  Especially delivery men or garbage men

So I started to do a bit of research on holiday tipping and want to share my finds with you to help relieve some of your stress.

Why Should You Tip

According to Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, “Holiday tipping is a way of thanking the people that make it easier for us to manage our own lives.”

So who are those people that make your life easier?  The number one that comes to my mind, especially at this time of year, is the UPS and mail men because I do a lot of on-line shopping that definitely saves me a lot of hassle.

Who All Should I Tip

Well, technically you don’t have to tip anyone, BUT according to a recent survey done by Care.Com, 81% of people give tips with these three groups being the top.

  • Personal care provider – like your hairstylist, manicurist, personal trainer
  • Child care providers – babysitters or teachers
  • Delivery People – Postal Worker, news paper carrier, UPS men

Now does that mean you have to give each and every one of these people a gift?  Not necessarily.  According to The Emily Post Institute, if you regularly tip someone at a time of service, you can skip the end of year tip.  This answers my question regarding tipping a hairdresser even if I don’t go in December.  Now that doesn’t mean you can’t give a little gift if you have a great relationship with that service provider.

How Much to Tip

So now you know who most people tip, what about how much and should you give a gift or cash.

Here’s your most important tip – Don’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget – even if it’s lower then the suggested amount.  After all, they are just recommendation and not set in stone.


Cash or Gift Amount
Hairstylist Up to the cost of one salon visit divided between each staff members who works with you.
Babysitter If it’s a regular sitter, give an average day pay AND a small gift from your kids.
Teacher Since a teacher is a professional who gets a salary, you shouldn’t give them cash, but instead a small gift from your child.  Here’s some great ideas for your teacher.
UPS  or Fed Ex Delivery Man UPS encourages small gifts rather than cash while Fed Ex says no cash and gifts under $75.
Newspaper Carrier $10 to $20.  A great way to get this one to them is to insert it with your payment with a note of thanks.
Garbage Man Check with your municipal trash service to see if it’s allowed, but recommended amount is $10 to $30 for each garbage man.
Post Man Mail carriers cannot accept cash gifts, checks, gift cards or any form of currency.  They can accept small gifts (under $20) like water bottles or  or hand warmers or small snacks and beverages.  If you gift a large fruit basket, they must share it with the whole branch.

Of course this list does not include everyone you might tip, but it does include those people that a frugal minded mom like me might use and want to thank.

Here is a great Holiday Tipping Checklist for anyone else you might need to tip to say thank you this holiday season.

How to Get the Tip to the Person

The best way to give a cash tip is in an envelope with a hand written note directly to the person.  Of course that might not always be possible, especially in the case of that garbage man who doesn’t always come at the same time and often when you are not home.

So the suggestion is to tape it to the top of the garbage can with a big note saying who it’s to.

Do you have any great ideas to get that gift to the garbage man?  Would love to hear what you do.

3 Ideas if You Don’t Have the Money to Tip at All

  1. I love this first idea.  If the person has done a great job over the year, send their supervisor a letter of praise.
  2. Write a thoughtful letter of gratitute to the person.
  3. Give a gift or card made by your child or if you you know they don’t have any allergies you could bake them something.




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  1. Susan Curtis says:

    I was shocked to not see housekeeper on the tipping list!! I clean professionally and every year for Christmas my clients have always been very generous so I was very surprised we didn’t make that list

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