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Your Tipping and Gift Guide During the Holidays

Kerry Sherin

The holidays are a great time to show appreciation to those who make your life easier. But this time of year is tough on many budgets, and it can be difficult to balance giving gifts, traveling, paying bills and coming up with money for everyday expenses.

With some creativity and this guide, learn about whom and how much to tip and gift during the holidays without breaking the bank. Holiday tipping shouldn't be seen as an obligation, but instead as acknowledgment of the service providers in your life.

Who Gets a Tip During the Holidays?

Tipping these service providers is a great way to thank them for their year of work. While the holiday tipping amounts listed below are recommended, it is up to you to make the final call on what you provide.

Here's whom and how much to consider tipping during the holidays:

-- Lawn or landscaping crew: $20 to $40.

-- Handyman: $20 to $40

-- Garbage collector: $20 to $40.

-- Doorman: $20 to $40.

-- Building attendant: $20 to $40.

-- Newspaper carrier: $20 to $40.

-- Regular waitress or waiter: $20 to $40.

-- Barista: $20 to $40.

-- Food deliverer: $20 to $40.

-- Parking attendant: $20 to $40.

-- Babysitter: up to one week's fee.

-- Pet sitter: up to one week's fee.

-- Tutor: up to one week's fee.

-- Senior care provider: up to one week's fee.

-- Housecleaner: up to one week's fee.

-- Hair stylist or barber: value of one visit.

-- Personal trainer: value of one visit.

-- Masseuse: value of one visit.

-- Nail technician: value of one visit.

-- Personal assistant: a meaningful gift.

-- Postal worker: Gifts must be less than $20.

-- Nursing home employees: Check company policy or bring a tray of baked goods for all to enjoy.

-- Teachers and aides: Avoid monetary gifts and aim for something thoughtful.

Read on for more information and details about tipping during the holidays.

[See: Here's When You Don't Have to Tip]

How Much Should You Tip During the Holidays?

Determining how much you are going to tip during the holidays comes down to a variety of factors and is ultimately up to your discretion.

Here are some factors to consider when determining how much to tip during the holidays:

Consider budget. First, make a budget of what you can afford and work within that to set your totals.

Prioritize. Make a list of the workers to whom you'd like to gift or tip and put them in priority order. You may not be able to give all service providers in your life a holiday tip, and that's OK.

Know your relationship with the provider. Consider giving more to those with whom you are extremely close or interact regularly.

Consider years of service. Service providers who've been in your life the longest should be on the shortlist to get a little extra in holiday tips.

Factor in where you live. Based on your location, it may be customary to provide bigger Christmas tips. Tippers who live in larger cities tend to need to spend more.

Holiday Tips for Home and Daily Service Providers

To the men and women who regularly service your home and do their best throughout the year to keep you and your property in top shape, a customary tip would range between $20 and $40 per person. These workers include:

-- Lawn or landscaping crew.

-- Handyman.

-- Garbage collector.

-- Doorman.

-- Building attendant.

-- Newspaper carrier.

-- Regular waitress or waiter.

-- Barista.

-- Food deliverer.

-- Parking attendant.

[Read: Make the 2020s Your Best Financial Decade]

Holiday Tips for Family Service Providers

Workers may provide regular care around your home or in your life such as child care services. These are often providers whom you see on a daily or weekly basis and with whom you have a strong relationship. A suggested tip for these types of providers would be valued up to the cost of one week of work. These workers include:

-- Babysitter.

-- Pet sitter.

-- Tutor.

-- Senior care provider.

-- Housecleaner.

Holiday Tips for Personal Service Providers

You can't forget the people who keep you looking and feeling good all year. The perfect tip for these folks would be the value of one of each of their services. These workers include:

-- Hair stylist or barber.

-- Personal trainer.

-- Masseuse.

-- Nail technician.

Who Should Receive Gifts Instead of Tips During the Holidays?

Cash is king for most service providers but there are times when it might be appropriate to give a gift instead of a tip. It's always important to check with a person's employer to see if a worker is allowed to receive a gift.

Consider a holiday gift instead of a cash tip for these professionals:

-- Personal assistant. Give a meaningful gift to show appreciation for his or her hard work.

-- Postal worker. The postal service limits gifts to items valued at less than $20.

-- Nursing home employees. Check company policy or bring a tray of baked goods for all to enjoy.

-- Teachers and aides. Many teachers cannot accept monetary gifts. A thoughtful gift to your teacher from you or your child is the perfect way to show appreciation.

[Read: Energy-Saving Tips for Winter]

Holiday Tipping Advice

It's never easy to determine the appropriate gift, tip or acknowledgment. Use these tips to assist in your tipping this holiday season:

Avoid gifting food. Avoid this unless you know the person's diet. Many folks have restrictive diets these days, and your gift may end up as a re-gift or in the trash.

Don't gift alcohol. Same goes for alcohol. Make sure the recipient is someone who would appreciate this type of gift.

Buy discounted gift cards. This is a great way to save money but also provide a great gift to someone important.

Give a note. If you can't afford to give out monetary gifts this year, a handwritten or thoughtful note is another great way to show you care.

Get crisp bills. Head to your bank and pick up some new, crisp bills to hand out as your tips.

No tip is necessary during the holidays, and tips are always up to your discretion. However, they do serve as a way for you to show a little extra appreciation in a time when service providers need it most. Use your own judgment to determine the value of the tip and who gets one.



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