Christmas Tipping – Christmas Tip for Who and How Much? - The Reward of Choice!
Christmas tipping during the holidays has been around for a very long time. Giving a Christmas tip to doormen, hairdresser/barber, mailman/mail carrier, garbage men/trash collector, waitress or waiter etc as a way of “paying it forward” during the Christmas season is admirable.

We’ve been hearing the term “spreading the wealth” around quite a bit lately, especially during the presidential campaign. To tip or not to tip, how much to tip and who should be on our Christmas tipping list is on the minds of many.

With the current economic situation we’re in right now, with so many people losing their jobs and worrying if they will have the money to buy Christmas gifts for their own children and family (or whether they will be able to pay their mortgage or rent), I’d hate to think that people are feeling undue pressure to participate in Christmas tipping too.

Tipping at Christmas is certainly a kind gesture for those who can afford to tip those who provide us services of one kind or another. According to recent news reports, the list of who should get a Christmas tip has grown to include personal trainers, dog walkers, and the newspaper delivery person too. Personally, I think the Christmas tipping tradition has gotten out of hand.

Christmas Tipping

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Christmas tipping, which has its own Tipping Etiquette guidelines, is discretionary. If you plan on tipping for Christmas but aren’t quite sure of how much to tip or who to tip, there are a few things to consider. Keep in mind, who to tip and who not to tip at Christmas is entirely up to you, and not everyone who provides services are equally deserving a tip or the same “customary” amount.

If you are one of many who feels that tipping at Christmas is stupid and unnecessary, then by all means don’t tip. I am not someone who believes there is a moral obligation to give Christmas tips, so don’t email me ranting about tipping because I won’t respond. For those of you wishing or planning on tipping, here are some tipping guidelines to consider.

Christmas Tip – For Who and How Much?

Babysitter: One evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child.
Barber: Cost of one haircut, and/or gift.
Beauty salon/hairstylist: $10 to $60 each, giving most to those who provide the most service.
Child’s teacher: Give a gift, not cash. Consider a Gift Certificate; fruit basket or picture frame.
Daycare Services: $25-70, plus a small gift from your child.
Dog walker: One week’s pay and/or a gift.
Doormen/Concierge: $10 to $80 each, with a bigger tip for the doormen who serves you more.
Garage attendants and newspaper deliverer: $10 to $30 each.
Housekeeper: One day’s pay.
Mail carrier: Gifts up to $20 each, but no cash. *See the rules below for giving Christmas tips to USPS workers below. Only tip your regular mail carrier that you know and see regularly.
Nanny/Au pair: One week’s to one month’s salary based on tenure, plus a small gift from your child.
Personal trainer – $60-100 upon reaching goal.
Super: $25 to $100.
Doorman: $10 to $80.
Handyman: $15 to $40.
Trash collector: $10 to $30 each (for private service); for municipal service, check local regulations.

Christmas Tipping Mail Carriers

According to USPS, the rules and regulations about Christmas tipping mail carriers are as follows:

While many Postal Service™ customers have traditionally thanked their mail carrier with gifts of cash during the holiday season, this practice puts our employees at risk of violating federal law.  The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Standards), specifies that Postal Service employees may not accept gifts from outside sources (including Postal Service customers) or gifts given to them because of their official positions. Postal Service employees are also prohibited from soliciting gifts from outside sources.

There are a number of exceptions and exclusions to the general gifts rule. Postal Service employees may accept the following items:

  • Snacks and beverages that are not offered as part of a meal.
  • Items with little intrinsic value (i.e., greeting cards, plaques, pens, coffee mugs, etc.).
  • Perishable items (i.e., flowers, chocolates, cookies, etc.); if the items are clearly worth more than $20, employees should share them with others in the Postal Service workplace.
  • Items with a market (retail) value of $20 or less.
  • Gifts motivated solely because of a personal relationship.
  • Gifts for which the employee has paid market (retail) value.
  • Gifts paid for by the Postal Service.

Postal Service employees may not accept cash  – in any amount or form (bills, checks, money orders) – from an outside source. For further information, please contact the U.S. Postal Service® Law Department’s Ethics Helpline at 202-268-6346

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Some people feel that Christmas tipping is just stupid, because these workers are already being paid a salary to do their jobs. And don’t tell me how people with minimum wage jobs are desperate and in need of any possible Christmas tips they may receive this year. I personally have a few on this list that I regularly tip for Christmas and I will continue to do so.

I also give donations to charities at Christmas and throughout the year, but Christmas tipping should never be presented as a requirement or a “moral obligation” for anyone. If you can tip at Christmas, by all means do so. If you are not able to give a Christmas tip of some kind or donate toys or Christmas gifts to charity, don’t beat yourself up about it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

[Originally Published December 2008]

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11 Responses to “Christmas Tipping – Christmas Tip for Who and How Much?”

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  1. Lin says:

    Hi Krista, whatever you are able to give as a Christmas tip is never a bad idea. Even though the tip may be less than previous years, receiving a Christmas tip or bonus of some amount that won’t put you in a financial bind is still a tip that will be appreciated. If you are able to or want to, after the holidays are over and finances are improved, you could always give a her another tip or small gift of some kind as a “just because” gift or token of your appreciation of all her work. Just don’t guilt yourself into tipping more than you are able to give. Merry Christmas!