A Brief Guide to Holiday Tipping

I’m getting more requests this year for holiday tipping info than ever before. For example, Nina wrote: “Can you provide some guidelines for Holiday Tipping Etiquette for the holiday season? I’m at a complete loss…”

To be honest, I don’t know much about holiday tipping. It’s not something I was raised with. I covered it briefly in my guide to how much to tip, but I’m basically as in the dark as Nina is. To learn more about the subject, I did a little research. I learned that in some places and for some jobs, holiday tipping is customary.

The December 2009 issue of Consumer Reports includes a survey on holiday tipping habits. Housekeepers are by far the most commonly tipped profession. A full 75% of folks tip their cleaning person — and no wonder. More than half tip their child’s teacher. Other than that, holiday tipping is more sporadic. (Only 8% tip the trash collector.)

Here are some general holiday tipping guidelines:

  • Holiday tipping is never required. Even when it’s the social norm, you shouldn’t tip if you can’t afford it or you don’t feel the person deserves it.
  • Tipping tends to be more common (and on a larger scale) in big cities than in small towns. The best way to determine the etiquette in your area is to ask around.
  • In general, you should consider giving a holiday tip to the folks who take care of your home and family, especially those you see often. The more often you see someone and the longer you’ve known them, the more you should tip. (Someone who works in your home regularly — such as a housekeeper — usually expects a tip.)
  • For personal services like manicures, massages, pet grooming, and fitness training, tip up to the cost of one session, but only if you see the same person regularly. For example, if you get a $60 massage every six weeks, your holiday tip should be about $60.
  • Public servants are not allowed to accept cash tips in the U.S., but it’s acceptable to give a non-cash gift of up to $20. You might give a plate of cookies to your mail carrier, for example, or a book or a gift certificate to your child’s teacher.
  • When you give a tip, include a card or a hand-written note thanking the person for their service.
  • If you tip cash, crisp new bills make a better impression than old wrinkly ones.

Here’s a list of people who often receive holiday tips and what they typically receive:

  • Babysitter: one week’s pay
  • Nanny: one week’s pay
  • Housekeeper: one week’s pay
  • Gardener: one week’s pay
  • Doorman: $10 to $100, depending on what they do for you
  • Garbage collector: $15 to $25
  • Janitor: $15 to $25
  • Newspaper delivery person: $15 to $25
  • Parking attendant: $15 to $25

This is just a list of people who commonly receive holiday tips. Tipping service people with whom you have regular contact can build goodwill. Everyone likes to feel appreciated; we tend to remember the little gestures others make on our behalf. If you want to tip the bus driver, go ahead. Use your best judgment.

Further reading: The New York Times Bucks blog recently ran a series on holiday gift-giving and tipping etiquette. You can read part one, part two, and part three.

What’s your experience with holiday tipping? Is it customary in your area? Who gets tipped and how much?

Photo by mysza831.

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There are 97 comments to "A Brief Guide to Holiday Tipping".

  1. Andrew @ webuildyourblog.com says 10 December 2009 at 05:07

    It’s always difficult to know what’s right and what’s wrong.

    Here in the UK, I tip the newspaper boy $15 (approx sterling to $ conversion), the gardener, $30 and our rubbish collectors, $30.

    When we go our for our Christmas dinners it tends to be more – about 15 – 20% – mainly because we’ve had too much to drink and feel more generous!


  2. marie says 10 December 2009 at 05:39

    I don’t have any of the above, but what about apartment building managers? Do they need a tip?

    • Gladys Nobriga says 05 January 2018 at 19:33

      This is exactly my question! My Manager goes above and beyond her duties, no matter what time of the day or night, she helps you! Some tenants think they are intitled to her kindness so therefore don’t believe in tipping her! They can afford it!

  3. Tootie says 10 December 2009 at 06:11

    Don’t forget your mail carrier! Per post office rules, I don’t think they can accept more than $20, so I usually give a $20 gift card and some baked goods.

  4. Erin says 10 December 2009 at 06:33

    A friend of mine didn’t know after his first year living in Manhattan that it’s customary to tip the doorman at the holidays and didn’t do so. The doorman was very offended and was very rude and unhelpful to him after that. His friends were horrified to find he hadn’t tipped his doorman and clued him in. So if you live in NYC in a doorman building make sure to tip, the doorman can make your life miserable if you don’t! It’s not fair because a tip is supposed to be discretionary, but someone who works at your home has a lot of power over your life.

  5. Manuel says 10 December 2009 at 06:43

    Erin raises a good point, tips should not be expected, but in some cases that’s become the quasi standard. Doormen are an interesting phenomenon, they have tremendous power over your life from receiving mail to letting your friends into the building. I think if you can afford to live in a building with a doorman, you ought to be able to afford to tip him. As to knowing about the etiquette, there a tons of resources out there, GRS is just one of them (thank you for summarizing though).

  6. Jenn S. says 10 December 2009 at 06:56

    I usually give my hair stylist a nice holiday tip – I’ve been seeing the same person for 10 years, so I think my $40 cash tip in December is a worthy investment for keeping my hair in shape.

    We give our dogwalker the equivalent of 2 weeks’ pay – $110, which is more than is generally recommended, but we think its more than fair for the excellent care she takes with our dog. We take a week off for the holidays, so the 2-weeks’ value tip pays her for that week off, plus another week as a thank you. Seems fair to me.

  7. PK says 10 December 2009 at 07:02

    Every year I see these blog posts, and honestly until reading it in the blogs I had NEVER heard of tipping at Christmas time for anything. I think it’s ridiculous.

    For example the doorman. I used to live in a condo that had several guys that would work the door. However, they don’t actually DO anything they just watch the door and sometimes receive packages if they arrive late enough in the night. They were all retired gentlemen, so widowers, that lived in the building. As a board member of the HOA, I knew how much they made to just sit and watch TV and it was absurd.

    Many of the people on that list get tips throughout the year for good service, spread it out across the whole year. It’ll be easier on your budget AND theirs.

  8. No Debt Plan says 10 December 2009 at 07:24

    If my parents did holiday tipping when I was growing up then I was completely ignorant of it. I had never heard of tipping during the holidays until a few years ago.

    It baffles me and we don’t do it. I suppose we might be unique because we don’t pay anyone to maintain our yard, or clean our house, or be a doorman… 🙂 Maybe I should tip my wife and she can tip me!

    I’ve always thought that if the service provider expects a tip then why don’t they just build that expected income into their costs?

    I also hate when people try to make you feel guilty about not tipping like you’ve committed some social sin. I suppose they grew up in families that tipped. Different perspectives for different people.

  9. Jackie says 10 December 2009 at 07:29

    I tip my massage therapist everytime I see her, but other than a mail carrier (who seems to change frequently now) the only service provider I use from the list is the trash collector. And our trash is a huge barrel in the alley that serves multiple houses. Really it’s never crossed my mind to tip for that.

    I don’t think the kind of tipping described here is very common in this area. Maybe in the wealthy areas where people do have all those services, I don’t know.

  10. Beth says 10 December 2009 at 07:32

    I found this list kind of funny because I don’t have any of these service providers except a hair dresser (who I tip throughout the year) and a building manager. I guess if you can afford all these services, you can afford to tip.

  11. Kris says 10 December 2009 at 07:44

    I’m still not sure how people go about tipping their garbage collectors! Ours come by at 6 in the morning or after we’ve left for work, and the checks go to a company (Groot) not a person.

    I have to say I don’t tip the postal carrier, especially since at Christmas you never know if the person picking up the mail that day is your regular carrier or not. I do tip my hair stylist when I have one I see regularly.

    Honestly, the amounts shown for tips are close to what I spend on family members’ gifts.

  12. Little House says 10 December 2009 at 07:50

    This is good to know. I was completely clueless on tipping etiquette as well. Luckily for me, the only person on the list that I may need to tip this year is my gardener. I’m glad that I don’t have a long list of people to tip!

  13. kdice says 10 December 2009 at 07:52

    I do different things… I just got back from dropping off pointsettia plants to our dentist and eye doctor’s offices… both have office staffs that are exceptionally friendly and accommodating and we have gone there for years… but I can’t tip each of them.

    I’m giving a $20 gift card to the newspaper delivery person for the first time this year because for the first time we have someone who gets the paper to us on time ALL the time. This year I’m wondering about my yoga instructor at a large gym… she’s really good, but I’m not sure about protocol for doing it, maybe a gift card there too?

    I don’t do it because it’s expected but because each of these people provides a level of service that makes my life better and I want to say thanks.

  14. Brent says 10 December 2009 at 07:59

    Problem for me is that the only person that I see regularly is the janitor at work. I don’t have a fixed haircutter, don’t see the mailman, or the garbage collector and don’t have much in the way of routine service. Tipping never made a whole lot of sense to me. It seems to me to be a leftover from a fuedal/haggling type of system. Seems that in a day of standardized pricing and labor liquidity we could just include it in the price and if the service wasn’t good enough to ask for a discount under threat of losing future business.

  15. Clare says 10 December 2009 at 08:16

    Don’t forget daycare! Emily Post says “A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren).” My brother’s girlfriend works at a daycare – she usually gets some baked goods “from the child”, and a gift card from the parents. They definitely make your life easier, so I think it’s worth it!

  16. JJ says 10 December 2009 at 08:16

    I was a paper carrier in the 1990s. About half the houses I delivered papers to tipped at all, but most of those that did tip would also give a $5-$10 Christmas tip. That was about 50% of the monthly paper delivery bill. I was always pleasantly surprised at Christmas time. I didn’t intentionally give different service to the tippers, but in practice, they did get better service. I spent more time talking with them, and so I was able to find out things like if they were having trouble reaching down to pick up the paper and would prefer to have it placed on a porch chair instead of the doormat.

  17. stephanie says 10 December 2009 at 08:17

    i purchase small gifts for my housecleaner and sitter (my little one usually picks out the gift for his sitter) each year, but i just can’t reconcile an xmas tip for either of these people that is more than the budget my husband and i have set for each other! their service is fabulous, but to holiday tip an employee more than i’d gift to my family doesn’t work for me.

  18. Sara says 10 December 2009 at 08:19

    I hate tipping! I’m with “No Debt Plan” (#8): if a tip is basically required, why not just charge that much instead of making people guess?

    I was taken by surprise when my “sanitation engineer” left a Christmas card (an obvious hint for a tip) with my trash can last week. I had never heard of tipping the garbage collector before!

  19. Rachael says 10 December 2009 at 08:24

    For families on a tight budget, all this holiday tipping is prohibitively expensive. As someone else pointed out, add up those suggested amounts and it could exceed the budget I’ve set for my own family during the holidays.

  20. Avistew says 10 December 2009 at 08:34

    In France, holiday tipping is called “étrennes”. As far as I know, it’s only common to give it to children in your family (if you’re a grandparent or uncle) and to the “concierge” (person who cleans the building you live in and keeps your mail for you.)

    For the postman, the garbage man and the firemen/police, you buy their calendar.

    Otherwise, I’ve had experience with gifts (doesn’t count as étrennes if it’s not money I believe), but from the other hand. My father is a doctor and he would always get gifts, not only throughout the year (thanks for saving my life!) but also for the holidays.
    The gifts were often a box of chocolate or a bottle of alcohol, although some had personalised gift (a patient would give us a box of pistachio from Turkey (he was Turkish) every single year).
    Considering we have free health care and you don’t, it’s quite possible giving gifts to your doctor isn’t done as much in the US (you already pay them a lot after all).

    I never know when these things are appropriate, but since I don’t have much money I usually don’t give money. However I like giving things, so cookies or things I knit I give, if I know they’ll be appreciated.

  21. RMS says 10 December 2009 at 08:37

    I think if I were a service person I would feel just as happy if you baked me cookies to thank me, but maybe others think differently. In my current job as a consultant for architects, my clients don’t typically thank me by paying me extra! I’ll be happy if they just paid their regular bills on time.

    I have found empty envelopes in our mail from fire department or the police during the holidays. Is this normal and is this even allowed?

  22. Brent says 10 December 2009 at 08:41

    If you have multiple ‘Postal People’ that deliver your mail and you leave a $20 gift card, why should that person that happens to be working that day you leave it out get that gift and not the others?

    This goes for garbage collectors too… just seems like this is an antiquated system and I can only see this working for babysitters and maids or someone you regularly see all the time.

  23. Sandy L says 10 December 2009 at 08:49

    My paper boy wrote a letter asking for a tip this year AND he’s terrible. One out of 4 papers never shows. I used to be a waitress, so I tip generously, but this year, he gets nothing. To solicit a tip for bad service is just poor taste. When a paper shows up at 11 am, does that count?

  24. Jay says 10 December 2009 at 08:51

    Kris @ #11

    In Pittsburgh it is customary to tip your garbage collector. Easiest way, outside of getting up early, is to tape an envelope on the underside of the lid. Old hands at the collection company will clip the lid when they remove it. My father gives the collectors a case of beer and a 1/5 of Jack Daniels at Christmas. During the rest of the year he could put dead bodies on the curb and they would pick them up.

    It is also customary to tip them during the year if you put out a large amount of trash or perhaps a few things that aren’t really allowed to pick up, like a recliner. I’m not so sure this is technically tipping, sounds more like bribing to me.

  25. partgypsy says 10 December 2009 at 08:54

    I’m thinking the Christmas tipping started because a)it is a replacement for salary for service people who depend on tips who have unadvertent time off during the holidays because restaurant is closed, people on holiday etc, or b) for people who work all year round for you who have more work to do during the holidays (doorman, postal carriers), to thank for extra work. So I think everyone needs to think what works for them. Yes for mail carrier. I’m sorry no, I’m not going to start tipping the garbage man (The city publishes their salaries and they are good ones).

    Regarding my hair stylist, this is a gray area. I love how she cuts my hair. However I only see her 3 or at most 4 times a year because including a good tip I can only afford to see her that many times. So to tip more on top of that is hard to swallow, especially as many are giving spouses and loved ones token gifts this year.

    But if you can afford it, and you have a more personal relationship with a service person you use all year by all means tip.

  26. Craig says 10 December 2009 at 09:10

    I live in a walk up so I don’t have to worry about tipping there, but what about mailman?

  27. Cali says 10 December 2009 at 09:18

    I always tip my housekeeper at Christmas. The amount is equivalent to her bi-weekly rate.

    I don’t tip the postal worker, mainly because ours changes throughout the week.

  28. elisabeth says 10 December 2009 at 09:31

    I recently started with a new hairstylist — when I see her tomorrow it will only be the 4th time she’s worked on my hair. I’ve been torn about giving her a holiday greeting/tip, she’s the lead stylist/owner of the salon and some tip guides say “don’t tip the owner,” on the other hand, she’s younger than I am and has fewer resources, and she has been good to my hair…
    my husband grew up in a big city and wants to tip everyone — the paper deliver, the post man, etc etc, but we live in a small city now and I don’t think it’s the same customs. I have two post office boxes (in different branches; one is personal one is for my tiny mail order used book business) and see the postal counter clerks all the time — it just feels weird to think about tipping people who feel like acquaintences, not service personnel. But, I did buy a tiny present for the bank account service person who handles my CD renewals (I have a 12 month ladder and usually change the amounts, etc, it’s not automatic renewals).
    The tipping question is related, I think to the whole work place gift exchange thing. My boss used to give presents to all the staff, but considering the difference in our salaries, I doubt she expected gifts in return. And yet, as a professional staff person, I also felt a little insulted by the idea that I should receive gifts from a person who was as much my colleague as a superior, so I always did send her something, to her house (usually as a New Year’s gift).

  29. Tyler Karaszewski says 10 December 2009 at 09:41

    This list reads like the list of staff positions at a 19th century English mansion:

    Garbage collector
    Newspaper delivery person
    Parking attendant

    Suffice it to say I have none of these people, except a garbage collector, and he’s employed by the city and comes by at something like 5:00AM friday mornings, and I’ve never met him.

    I’ve never done any “holiday tipping” nor have I ever known anyone who has, as far as I know. Is this a regional thing? Common only in certain economic classes? I’ve never even heard of it except on the internet.

  30. KateMTP says 10 December 2009 at 09:47

    My friend Cari was talking about getting her bus drivers during the work week a gift card at Starbucks. Would this be as sufficient as tipping? It is the thought that counts, right?

  31. K.L. says 10 December 2009 at 09:58

    … one more reason to feel bah-humbuggish at the holidays… more guilt to push people to spend, spend spend. As Kris said (post 11), the amounts mentioned for tips here are equivalent to what I spend on my family members! (to be fair, I make a lot of gifts, so I spend more time than money in many cases) I did hire a housekeeper this year b/c I have three jobs (two very part time), but she’s getting a 20% tip for her visit this time, plus a small homemade gift and a nice note. Maybe she’ll find that insulting-?

  32. Shane says 10 December 2009 at 10:06

    I hate the tip system. Especially when I go out to eat. For the high price of meals, I thought it included the cost of service. I guess I am wrong, because I have to slap a big old fat tip on top of the already outrageous price. And not only that, but servers except nothing less than 20% now. I always thought 15% for the service that is expected of them, and 20% for exceptional.

  33. Johnny Cash Forever says 10 December 2009 at 10:08

    Instead of thinking of it as tipping, think of it as giving. It doesn’t have to be cash nor does it have to be extravagant. It just has to show the recipient that you sincerely appreciate what they (willingly) do for you. Plus, in the spirit of the season, doesn’t giving make you feel good?

    “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”

    — Deuteronomy 15:10

  34. Sam says 10 December 2009 at 10:10

    I tip my dog sitter about $50 which is basically her monthly fee (so way more than one session but she takes care of my most important possession).

    I tip my hairdresser each visit, and I tip her well, so I don’t necessarily tip her again at the holidays unless she has provided extra special services during the year (like the year of my wedding when she did my makeup and hair, or if she comes by my house to do my hair [she lives near me] or makes an extra special effort to squeeze me in when I’m desperate).

  35. Lauren says 10 December 2009 at 10:30

    @Jay #24 —

    I’ve lived just outside of Pittsburgh my entire life, and I’ve never heard of anyone tipping their trash collectors. Most people in my neighborhood don’t even use trash cans (I don’t). Maybe it is very neighborhood type thing?

  36. Laura says 10 December 2009 at 10:41

    Tipping our trash collector would be difficult — he doesn’t even get out of the truck. The truck has a mechanical arm on it that grabs the trash can and tips it into the truck automatically. The recycling collectors do work outside the truck, but I’ve never seen them at work.

    Our postal carrier is probably tip-worthy, though — we’re technically on a rural route. Perhaps a gift card for a gas station?

  37. The Broken Penny says 10 December 2009 at 10:43

    I never needed to consider what the going rate was for these type of services until this year. Due to our long work hours we hired a dog walker 2 days a week. The weekly cost is $30 dollars, so I think it would be appropriate to give a $25-$30 dollar gift card. Good point about giving crisp bills if paying in cash as well! It defiantly makes a better impression

  38. Siggy says 10 December 2009 at 10:48

    @KateMTP: It’s only a good gift if your friend knows they drink coffee. For some reason coffee drinkers seem to take that as a universal given.

    The thought that should count is whether the giver cares enough about the receiver to put some thought into the gift. If not, why even bother with the gift? Can you imagine giving a bus driver a Gamestop gift card without knowing whether or not he enjoys video games?

    For people I want to gift who are more or less strangers, I like gift cards for department stores. Even if they don’t shop at that store regularly, they can stop by when they happen to be in a mall for something else and there is bound to be something they can use or want.

  39. AnnieSez says 10 December 2009 at 10:49

    If we’re not suppost to tip the mail carrier more than $20, then why do they accept $50 each year? I did not know there was a limit…especially since it’s a “financial” sacrifice for me. As for the garbage persons, I never see them. I’m I suppose to take a day off from work in order to give them a tip?

  40. Marie says 10 December 2009 at 11:06

    How exactly does a person tip the garbage men? They come at 3 in the morning, and the actual number of persons varies constantly. Do people just tape bills to the trash can, and hope it divides evenly?

  41. J.D. says 10 December 2009 at 11:11

    Folks, you should never tip if you don’t feel it’s appropriate. If you never see your garbage collector, and you’d have to take off work to tip him, then don’t tip. I’d argue that you it doesn’t make sense to tip a garbage collector that isn’t somehow getting out and manually hauling away the trash. If he sits in the cab of his truck and uses the automatic arm, is that really tip-worthy?

  42. chacha1 says 10 December 2009 at 11:22

    @ Jay 24 – LOL. Your dad has clearly figured out what works for him! (and his trash guys)

    Our city has very well-compensated public employees and we don’t get “personal” service from any of them, so we don’t tip that way. And no doorman, no housekeeper, no nanny, no dogwalker, no no no.

    But DH does buy a pocket full of $5 Starbucks gift cards and gives those to the ladies at his manicure place, to the car washer, to the staff at his mailbox service, etc. And we give a small token to the resident manager in our building.

    I no longer get body services (massages, facials, haircuts) due to Frugality, so not only have my personal expenses gone way down, I don’t have to budget any tips at holiday time.

    @ Shane, if you hate tipping so much, you need to just stop eating at restaurants with table service. Those servers do not even make minimum wage and the tip is what keeps most of them solvent. The tips are typically also shared with the kitchen workers. Believe me, everyone in the restaurant knows if you resent or begrudge paying for the service. As to 20% instead of 15% – if you are nice to them, they won’t mind 15%. If you are mean, no tip is big enough. And they WILL remember you.

    In college I worked at a Pizza Hut and every customer seemed to assume that because it was “fast food” that the servers got minimum wage (then around $4.35). Not so! I got paid $2.01 an hour. Boy, was I happy to make the jump to Dairy Queen.

  43. Dobie says 10 December 2009 at 11:23

    My personal opinion is that the concept of holiday tipping is ridiculous. Why would I tip someone extra just because it is the holidays? Why should I feel obligated to pay someone extra for doing the job they are being paid to do? That said – I love Christmas. I enjoy giving gifts to people I know well. I don’t use most of the services mentioned, but I can hope that if I had a maid in my home every week to help take care of me and my home, I would have a close enough relationship with that person that a Christmas *gift* would be appropriate, but not a holiday tip. The same with anyone I would trust enough to take care of my child.

  44. Jen says 10 December 2009 at 11:26

    I hate the idea of tipping for these service providers. They make a normal wage like the rest of us, why tip? I always tip 20% in a restaurant, I am not cheap, it just doesn’t make sense to tip a garbage collector or a mail carrier. At least they get pensions and health insurance, most of us don’t get that.

    I do tip daycare workers and buy a present for teachers since my kids have a personal relationship with them.

    I tip my hairdresser $30 every time I go in, if I have to pay her for a whole extra service via a Xmas tip, I am not going to be able to go anymore!

  45. Golfing_Girl says 10 December 2009 at 11:43

    I’ve heard of giving garbage men cases of beer and such for Christmas (but I’d wonder when to leave it out so no one else takes it). Since we don’t have a trash can than can be automatically lifted (and most others do), I guess that would warrant a tip? Anyone who has to deal with trash everyday deserves something special IMO!
    That being said, we’ve only historically tipped the babysitter (I cut DH’s hair and we don’t have any other services like the maid, gardener, etc.).
    Now that our daughter is in school, I’m giving her teacher and her assistant gift cards to a nearby chain restaurant, along with a handwritten note about the difference they’re making in her life.

  46. Nina says 10 December 2009 at 11:56

    J.D., thanks for the insightful response!

  47. Nancy L. says 10 December 2009 at 12:09

    When we lived in a doorman building in Manhattan, the expectation wasn’t that you just tipped the doormen (and supers), but that you did so in a very specific fashion. You had to stagger your tips according to the “level” of each recipient. So, my husband and I would make a list of everyone, figure out how much $$ we were able to give, and then break down the tips accordingly. The head super got the most, the weekend doormen got the least. And you didn’t want to cheapen out on them, bc they had a lot of control over the pleasantness of your home environment.

    Now that we live in the boonies, I tip my hairdresser, and give a small gift to the mailman and newspaper delivery people. Other than that, we don’t have enough of a connection with anyone else to give them gifts.

  48. Leah says 10 December 2009 at 12:09

    I was a regular babysitter for lots of families for over a decade, and I never received a holiday tip. I never expected one either. I may have gotten a few extra bucks, and I definitely got paid more for babysitting around the holidays (maybe $1-3 more an hour? and TONS more on New Year’s Eve, but I typically babysat for 10-20 kids with a friend and made bank).

    I do like your emphasis on not tipping unless you’d like to. I like the idea of keeping the tip as an unexpected surprise rather than an obligation for most people. I’d almost think it would be better to give an extra generous tip at some other time of the year to spread out the goodwill.

  49. Des says 10 December 2009 at 12:36

    “I guess if you can afford all these services, you can afford to tip.”

    I hate this sentiment and what it represents. There are all these hidden social expectations when your income increases. I understand percentages (like tithing 10%) but its more than that.

    A couple we know make about a third of what we make, but have the *same* discretionary income as us after you account for our increased taxes and their welfare benefits. Then on top of that we are expected to give more because “we have the money.” We have more money but we also have to pay more for everything. In then end, we live in the same zip code in the same sized house – ours bought with savings and theirs bought with down payment assistance and a 100% low income loan. We spend $160 a month in groceries, they get $300 a month in food stamps. They have a flat screen TV that was donated to them because they are “poor”, we have an old tube TV we bartered used. We drive a 10 year old 200k miles car, they just bought a new SUV. I feel like they’re living the life, and I’m the one who has to pay for it!

  50. BG says 10 December 2009 at 12:37

    I beleive that if you cannot afford to tip you should not let someone else do anything for you. Going out to eat?? if you don’t want or cannot afford to leave a tip I suggest you stay home. It is nice to reward people that work for you. I give gifts to my babysitter,my son’s teachers,the crossing guard and my immeadiate family(my son/husband) my parents get gifts all year round,so I normally would just send a picture card of my family for the holidays. My brothers and sisters do not expext anything just a phone call,because that would put them in a position to send me a gift and they cannot afford it. I normally would load up on chocolates with sales and coupons and distribute in the office. The fact remains that man people don’t talk to their family for 3/4 of the year and feel guilty at Christmas and try to cover it up with gifts. The best gift you can give someone is your presence in their lives. Tips are for the rich,and I am not one of those or I would not be reading this blog….

  51. Jim says 10 December 2009 at 12:43

    I don’t know anyone who does holiday tipping around here.

  52. Jess says 10 December 2009 at 12:47

    I was a server to get through college, nannied, and cleaned house and never knew about this Holiday Tipping idea. I have lived in Alabama my whole life and cannot tell if this is a cultural expectation, or, as other posts have alluded to, an issue for those of a higher standard of living… I would like to say for those in Alabama and other places, your server’s pay check from the restaurant does not even cover taxes! If you are eating out on a big holiday, your server would much rather be with their family and friends than waiting on you, so a bit extra definitely helps our moral for the night! (sorry for the soap box proclamation)

  53. Jim says 10 December 2009 at 12:56

    chacha1 said: “Those servers do not even make minimum wage and the tip is what keeps most of them solvent.”

    It depends on the state. In several states (including mine) servers get a full minimum wage and tips are on top of that.

  54. SpecialFXLady says 10 December 2009 at 12:58

    I never tip out of obligation. I have a super awesome postal carrier – he brought me mail from another building (I moved two blocks away) after my forwarding already expired – he deserves something extra but I don’t know him well enough to get him an actual gift.

    So I get him a gift certificate for the neighborhood coffee shop. Hopefully that way he can stop in for a cup if it’s too cold during a shift break.

    As for my housekeeper – It’s my only luxury and she is invaluable. I really think that my partner and I might not still be together if not for her 😉 So I like to get her a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine. I know she likes those things – but again I don’t know her well enough to get her a gift – so it’s my small way of saying thank you for the hard work that you do and that we value you.

    Dont’ tip if you don’t want to but don’t not tip someone whose service you value out of frugality. Even if you just give them a card it’s better than nothing.

  55. Jason B says 10 December 2009 at 13:24

    I’ve never tipped my trash collector, but I kind of want to… because they have hauled away a whole lot of crazy stuff. Rain soaked memory foam mattress pad, decrepit lawn mower, huge tower of rain soaked cardboard boxes, etc. Technically I’m allowed 96 gallons and 1 bulk item per week. But they take everything and anything I put out there. It’s such a nice feeling to see that empty curb. Some places you’d be lucky to get one bulk pick up in a year!

    In the battle against STUFF, these guys are champions for me.

  56. Edwin says 10 December 2009 at 13:42

    My father works as a UPS driver in a commercial district. The companies there will tip him in the hundreds every time christmas comes around. I guess companies really value having a driver who doesn’t destroy their packages.

  57. Emmy says 10 December 2009 at 14:04

    It seems like the same people who always object to tipping always do so on the same principle: they feel they should not have to pay “extra” to a person who is already compensated for doing their job. Can we get over this already? Tipping makes me feel good. It’s a way of rewarding the actual person who provides me with excellent service. Postal carriers work extra hard around the holidays to get all of our gifts and cards to our loved ones on time. And babysitters and nannies take responsibility for OUR CHILDREN when we’re not around. If we give cards and gifts to family members we never see or friends we don’t particularly care for, why skimp on the people who watch your kid or your dog or keep your building safe?

    I’m not saying you have to break your budget out of a sense of obligation, but the holidays are the time to look around you, be thankful to all the people who make your life easier, and show them you appreciate them. Holiday tipping is a GIFT, not a payment. And if it isn’t the norm where you live, obviously it’s not expected and this article doesn’t apply to you.

  58. Crystal says 10 December 2009 at 14:07

    I feel so sad when I read all of these comments. The holiday tip is a way of saying thank you for doing a good job this past year and showing them that you appreciate them. Some of these people do not make minimum wage and require tips, like servers in restaurants to make above minimum wage, and servers tips are often shared with other workers like bus boys or bartenders. I was raised that if you didn’t have money to leave a tip at a sit down restaurant, then you need to go to McDonalds.

    The amount you tip or what you give them can be different than what is listed based on how often you see them and how good of a job they do. My entire family sees the same hairstylist every six weeks, so why would I not give her something extra or a little present at the holidays? The same goes for my daughter’s dance instructor and her daycare providers. They see us daily/weekly and provide excellent service. In a way, they are an extension of my family, so I treat them as such.

    If you don’t have a lot of money, why not bake cookies or something of that nature. It’s the thought that counts. It’s the holidays, and it is about taking care of one another.

  59. Kevin M says 10 December 2009 at 14:37

    I have to agree with PK (#7) and Tyler (who’s comment about 19th century England made me laugh) – I’ve only heard of holiday tipping by reading personal finance blogs. Maybe it’s because I’m a big DIYer and don’t employ all these service people. I have a mail carrier and a garbage company, but the actual people driving the trucks varies by the day/week.

    I tipped myself an Ipod Touch for Christmas this year, does that count?

    I will say my wife, a preschool teacher, gets a ton of gift cards from her students’ parents. It is nice since we usually eat our weekly “out of the house” meal for free until about March.

    I guess my “rule” is if I encounter anyone who goes above and beyond my expectations for doing their job, I’ll tip them – or at minimum send them a nice note of appreciation.

  60. J.D. says 10 December 2009 at 14:50

    I’m curious about the folks who say they’ve only heard about holiday tipping on blogs. I’ve never really seen it mentioned outside financial magazines, like Money and its siblings. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it mentioned on a blog before.

    In any event, it’s something I’ve been hearing more about lately, and it’s something I don’t particularly care for. I can see doing it in certain instances, but to make it a general rule? Meh.

  61. Karen says 10 December 2009 at 15:22

    Sorry, I am perplexed by the holiday tipping thing too. Never heard of anyone doing it, not in my entire life. Of course, I live in a flyover state!

    I buy a christmas (& birthday) present for our daily babysitter/nanny, and I give a couple bottles of wine to the housecleaners at christmas. I also give gift cards to my secretary and other office employees. I never really thought of these as tips, though–just “thank yous” to people and friends that always come through to help me when I’m in a pinch.

    I can’t imagine tipping the mailman or garbage men–I never see either of them. I don’t have a gardener–I use a snow removal service in the winter but it’s always a different guy each time driving the mini tractor. I tip my hairdressor 20% or more whenever I see her–but that’s only about 4X/yr so usually doesn’t happen around the holidays. I always tip 15-20% for waiters and cabdrivers.

  62. KF says 10 December 2009 at 16:44

    Based on these comments, holiday tipping seems wonderful where there is a real relationship and it’s basically a gift exchange and an extra show of appreciation. In other cases, it sounds like extortion (especially when someone really can negatively impact one’s life, like a door person) and an oppressive social custom. It’s also rather arbitrary. Lots of people provide services who don’t make the typical “tipping lists” including accountants, lawyers, healthcare providers, fast food workers, car washers, and hundreds of other professions. And plenty of “professionals” like some accountants earn less than unionized laborers. The whole system strikes me as arbitrary and odd.

    If I know someone well, including a service provider, and want to give him/her a gift, I’ll give a gift. If I want to tip someone, I’ll do that whenever I partake of his or her services throughout the year.

  63. Donna Freedman says 10 December 2009 at 16:54

    I’m the resident manager at a small apartment building. Ostensibly my job is just to keep an eye on the place and do things for the owners. However, I do extras for tenants such as sign for packages, show them how to fix their garbage disposals (“showing” them means I pretty much end up doing the work), take in and store mail when people are on long trips, etc. I’ve also done some REALLY beyond-the-call-of-duty stuff, such as being awakened at 2 a.m. by a frantic phone call from an out-of-town tenant whose car had just been towed and who needed a copy of the car’s title retrieved from the apartment and faxed to the towing company.
    No tenant has ever tipped me. Then again, I don’t really expect it. I’d probably be stunned if anyone did.

  64. Evelyn says 10 December 2009 at 16:55


    Just goes to show you how unclear/random this tipping thing is. I grew up in Pittsburgh and my parents were big tippers (wait staff, bellman, limo driver, etc.) but I never remember them tipping the garbage collectors.

  65. Sarah says 10 December 2009 at 17:08

    I love the idea of showing appreciation for those who work for you closely & regularly and with whom you have a relationship. I don’t have any of these things despite living in NYC and Chicago (I don’t even have a hairdresser) but if I did, I’d be more than happy to show them my appreciation.

    I suppose I do have a postal worker but it seems to be always a different person and they all do a terrible job, so I’ve never really considered tipping them. Maybe my mail wouldn’t get shredded if I shelled out some cash…

  66. Torrey says 10 December 2009 at 18:08

    Wow! I had no idea some of the holiday tips were so much money. I have a babysitter and a house cleaner for this first time this year and at least now I have a better understanding.

  67. Adrienne says 10 December 2009 at 18:16

    To those wondering how to tip the trash collector. We put $ or a gift card in an envelope with a card and put it in a clear zip lock bag which I tape with packing tape to the top of the trash can. I guess someone could see and steal it but that is so low and it’s not a large tip. I hadn’t heard about tipping trash and recycling guys until my friend told me a few years ago. I now have a much easier time if my boxes aren’t tied or I have big items…

  68. Jay says 10 December 2009 at 19:29

    Lauren@24, ChaCha1@42, & Evelyn@64

    I have heard from several people, in different neighborhoods that you should trip the trashman. And these neighborhoods are across the socioeconomic spectrum.

    If we have a large amount of trash like spring cleaning day or leaf removal my dad will often be waiting for them on the curb, help them load it, and then tip them. We have thrown out couches, appliances, grills, and 40 bags of leaves and they have never left anything. That includes different drivers, they all seem to know my dad will take care of them and they make sure our stuff gets picked up.

  69. honeybee says 10 December 2009 at 19:48

    @Brent 14 and 22 — I think if you took the approach you do in #14, you will benefit the company and the bureaucracy but not the employee who helps you and works with you directly. The company is not going to pass that money down to the employee — in a world of “standardized pricing and labor liquidity” why should they? I don’t want to have my world Walmartized and so I will continue to build social and economic relationships with individuals, not with firms and corporations.

    And @22 — obviously tipping is for the people who factor big in your world. Try not to take JD’s suggestions so literally. He’s not a tyrant trying to make you do things you don’t want to do. He says himself, in the article: “This is just a list of people who commonly receive holiday tips… Use your best judgment.”

  70. Jan says 10 December 2009 at 20:31

    JD it is NOT illegal for teachers to get monetary gifts. Only the post office has that tag.
    42.chacha1 when the last minimum wage law went into effect all servers and bussers are required to be paid AT LEAST minimum wage. Tips are on top of that. My nephew cleared $60,000 working at a nice place one year. Slightly double what the teacher at the local school made.
    I tip for good service. I don’t tip my mail delivery peson- it changes all the time. My garbage man is union and makes the same amount as me….

  71. Kevin M says 10 December 2009 at 20:41

    @JD – I think I’ve heard about holiday tipping previously from Free Money Finance, but he rehashes magazine article for most of his posts anyway, so you’re probably right about the idea coming from Money or similar.

  72. John DeFlumeri Jr says 10 December 2009 at 21:47

    It really makes me happy to tip someone who is not expecting it. I usually give any holiday tips 2 or 3 weeks before the holiday so i can be the first one, and I tip more than what would be expected. reputation is important to me. Good service will follow, but a tip is a thank you for service Already received.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  73. Becky says 10 December 2009 at 22:44

    I think part of the amount of a tip should depend on how much time and personal service they give you. A newspaper carrier can have up to several hundred customers. It seems like $5 should be plenty.

    If everyone gave them that much, they’d have enough to buy a new tv and not just a “little bit” extra. Other people don’t have the time to have “lots and lots” of potential clients (like housekeepers/nannies), so the gift would be naturally bigger. At least, I’d assume that.

    But I come from a family that never gave out tips, though I thought a small tip to the mailman or newspaper person would be neat, but I mean, small like $5, figuring if “everyone did”, it would be a great Christmas bonus for them.

  74. LiveCheap.com says 10 December 2009 at 23:01

    Some of these professions don’t make much sense. If you tip your hairdresser every time you see them, why do they get a holiday tip? I understand a gift if you have a close personal relationship but some of the other people aren’t getting anything all year long. The one that makes the most sense to me is the doorman and here’s why. Doorman often do much more than just the simple job. They may walk you to your car, get packages from your car, make sure that the maintenance staff is attentive to your needs, etc. We had some great doormen when we lived in a highrise and it made perfect sense to tip them. But if they don’t do anything extra for you, then don’t tip them.

    Realistically though, many people are having a tough time making ends meet in this deep Recession. If you aren’t getting a bonus or a raise this year, its hard to want to turn around and dole out dozens of holiday tips.

  75. J says 11 December 2009 at 01:14

    I am an expatriate living in Indonesia where the norm is to tip one month’s salary every year to everybody who works for you (At Idul Fitri – sort of like Islamic Christmas). This includes everyone from Maids, Drivers, Security guards to anybody else who directly or indirectly provides you with a service.

    It gets expensive but you learn to include it in your yearly budgeting.

  76. Mary says 11 December 2009 at 01:24

    I’m surprised your favorite bloggers are not on the list to be tipped. They work hard all year on delivering information and entertainment …

  77. Jane says 11 December 2009 at 05:58

    We give gift cards to our son’s regular child care givers, and when he is in school someday, I plan to give to his teachers. But I don’t even know who our mailman is or if it is the same person usually. I don’t think you should have to tip faceless people or those that you don’t have a regular relationship with.

  78. Kevin@OutOfYourRut says 11 December 2009 at 09:18

    We usually tend to load up tipping at the holiday season, but I have a bit of a different thought about that.

    Most people on the receiving side of tipping are pretty flush this time of year because of the trend toward holidy specific tipping. But it might be better to wait until Jan or Feb, when our own cash flow is back to normal, and tip workers tips are down. You can even give it to them in a Christmas envelope, and maybe even a litte more than you could at the holiday because you don’t have money going out all over the place.

    Bet that’ll be appreciated every bit as much as the holiday tips!

  79. schmei says 11 December 2009 at 11:07

    Actually, thanks for posting this. We live in grad student housing and our building manager is just the greatest. I’d still feel weird giving him money, but I do think I’ll go ahead and bake something for him and his family… wasn’t sure if that would be appropriate. I had no clue it might be _expected_.

  80. realserendipity says 11 December 2009 at 12:49

    I only ended up tipping a few people this time of year. Our trash guys (its been the same two for at least three years now) get $30 each and in return they will take anything we leave out, ring the doorbell if the can isnt there, and have even helped carry the big stuff out of the garage. Its been invaluable to me and my husband. We get milk delivered so he gets a tip and then we take breakfast to our service manager and his crew at the car repair place.

    I dont tip because its expected but because I appreciate these people and the value that they add to my life.

  81. pdxdayhiker says 11 December 2009 at 12:51

    I’ve never done holiday tipping. I don’t really have regular people to tip. This year I’m going to tip the pet sitter, she’s new to my household this year and has been a lifesaver. I was thinking about leaving some cookies and a starbucks gift card and a note on the table for when she is here over new years.

  82. Wayward says 11 December 2009 at 13:40

    I suppose it’s really up to the individual–if the person in question makes your life more enjoyable somehow, why not show your appreciation? The only thing that makes the issue irksome is that people have come to expect and feel entitled to an extra holiday tip. Kinda sucks the joy of giving right out of it.

    I have occasionally done holiday tipping–I’ve always looked at it as a holiday bonus for service providers where the direct recipient of the service is not the company they work for. For example, I’m a book editor and I would be shocked if a reader sent me a holiday tip for the work I do because my work flows back into the publishing process and the company I work for. (Though, on occasion, we have had individual authors send holiday gifts as thank yous for editing work.)

    However, if the service provider is someone I would normally tip as part of their service (e.g., hairdresser or parking attendant) I do not give an additional bonus at the holidays. A babysitter or housekeeper would probably be an exception, but since I don’t use either of those services, it’s moot.

    For the first time in years it seems we have a regular postal carrier (and we actually get our mail!). I see her every morning as I leave for work and we exchange greetings, so I will probably give our postal carrier something this year. My parents used to tip the rubbish collectors each year, but that was back when they had to get out of the truck, lift the can, and actually interact with people. Nowadays, instead of a 2-person team it’s usually just 1 and they sit in the cab of the truck operating levers that do all the physical work for them and there’s no need to get out of the truck and run the risk of actually having to talk to anyone. While it’s still a service, it is so automated I don’t feel compelled to give a bonus.

  83. CERB says 11 December 2009 at 17:12

    We work as part-time janitors for a large accounting office and a law firm. We’ve never been tipped. We’ve been working for them for about 7 years, faithful and reliable as can be (and we don’t snoop – you’d be amazed at the private information left lying around). Oh well…tip or not, we’ll continue to dust the photos of their glamorous vacations.

    I’ll add one more service person to the list of those to consider tipping – the farrier (that’s a horseshoer). We finally found a reliable one – we definitely want to keep him!

  84. James from Tech for the Masses says 11 December 2009 at 18:36

    It isn’t really customary down here in my area (Well its the Caribbean) to do Holiday tipping. Though, I’ve found when I have done so I’ve made a loyal friend.

  85. Samantha says 12 December 2009 at 01:34

    I’m delighted to be the recipient of holiday gift giving. I babysit for a family, and the mom always gives me a gift certificate (usually a bit more than one week’s work) and “personal” gifts, like jewelry, baked goods, etc. I tell her she doesn’t need to, but she says the same thing every time – YOU TAKE CARE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THING IN MY LIFE.

    I think that’s smart. Is your babysitter going to up and steal your kid because you didn’t leave a tip at Christmas? No, I can’t see that happening, and hopefully you checked them out. But when you’re a parent, you’re paranoid about everything, and I can see the logic of trying to make sure the people who take care of your family are happy.

  86. BB says 13 December 2009 at 07:04

    Federal employees may not accept gifts for doing their jobs. Tipping your mail carrier forces him or her into a compromising position.

  87. EXS says 13 December 2009 at 08:42

    J.D.: Non-financial magazines (eg. Real Simple, Oprah, Good Housekeeping, etc.) also cover this topic. Personal finance blog-wise, Bargaineering recently covered it, as did FrugalZeitgeist (which linked to a three-part series on holiday tipping etiquette on the financial blog on NYT). Also on Curbed (a real estate blog in NYC, where this sort of thing is widely practiced/debated):

  88. Susan says 14 December 2009 at 15:51

    Wow, this post has generated a lot of emotion!
    When I was delivering newspapers, I was amazed at the number of people who didn’t tip…I always assumed they thought I was paid by the paper. Paper carriers are independent, using their own cars/gas to deliver. Believe me, cash tips are very welcome!
    It is my understanding that tipping is given to those who provide a personal service, but not the owner of a business. So, my haircutter who owns the shop gets nothing while her employees, if one of them cut your hair, would receive a tip. I do tip my housekeeper at Christmas, I do not give her extra each time she comes. My paper carrier I tip regularly each month, as there is a lot of turnover in that business. I also give a little extra at Christmas. At my local eatery where I am a regular, I tip generously throughout the year but do not tip at Christmas. I did notice as a paper carrier that the big houses gave me nothing or very little while the more modest houses were generous. I found that to be an interesting social comment.

  89. Linda Calvin says 15 December 2009 at 17:47

    I tip my hairdressers – my colorist and the hairdresser who does my perms etc – generously throughout the year. I also tip my aesthetician generously, so why is it that I should tip more at the holidays? I love them dearly and I think I show that each time I go to them for service. But I am curious as to where this custom came from – and also curious to know why wouldn’t a hairstylist give the client a gift? After all, if I tip regularly, have been loyal for many years, then why shouldn’t I get a little token to say “thanks for sticking it out with me.” There are a ton of hairstylists and aestheticians that are quite good, but I remain loyal. So why not me?

  90. Meredith says 17 December 2009 at 23:48

    I am FAAAAR from rich, but I have found that to maintain my sanity I had to build into my budget enough money to pay for a housekeeper every other week. Yes it is a luxury, but I didn’t hire her to polish my Bentley or anything.

    Anyway, I bristle at both of the two extremes…”you must be rich if you pay people to do things for you, so you’d better tip really well” and “people do things for me because I pay them. Why would I pay more?”

    You know that bonus or that gift or those hours you get off during the holidays, or even just the fact that you get to wear a holiday shirt and jeans to work…? THAT feeling. THAT is why you tip. To anyone else out there who has ever received a surprise holiday tip, or even a surprisingly generous everyday tip…you know that delight…so you tip someone who will appreciate it; someone who means something to you.

    Or don’t tip. Whatever. I doubt many people would be shocked NOT to receive a tip.

  91. Roger says 22 December 2009 at 07:22

    I tip my paper carrier $50 a year, at Christmas. That’s about 15%, which is the norm for services received. They get up in the middle of the night, 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year and put up with all kinds of nasty weather. If you can afford it, anything less is shameful IMO.

  92. Susan says 22 December 2009 at 08:07

    Rodger, I wish that you’d been on my route when I was delivering! I NEVER saw a $50 tip, and I was a great carrier! I’m sure your carrier appreciates your generosity!

  93. Jodi says 11 March 2010 at 20:53

    WOW…I was reading through these and can’t believe the amount of occupations that get tips. I tip my hairdresser and newspaper carrier.
    Some people have the money to be financially generous. I am a dog groomer, and yes as a general rule we get tips. At Christmas I usually put together some type of cute gift for my clients that I work all year on to thank them for their continued service. But I in no way expect christmas tips (or tips of any sorts) I do appreciate them, but do not expect them. I have one client who made me pot scrubbers, someone picked up a dog calendar, someone got me a dog book. I like the creativity of the gifts. And by no means do I expect or want lavish gifts. I know my clients appreciate me, and just a thank you card at christmas means a lot! So in my opinion if you can afford the tip it is greatly appreciated, but I do not treat the dogs any different when their owners do not tip! 🙂

  94. imaconsumer says 14 December 2012 at 07:18

    One weeks pay!!!? That’s not a tip, that’s a bonus. It should be referenced as a small holiday gift, rather than a “tip”. These people get full salaries, not $2 an hour! I would compare it/value it to buying the person lunch for casual, like mail carrier, trash collector. And a nice dinner for more common like housekeeper, nanny. So $10-20 or $40-50. Cash if they are allowed or restaurant/gift card. A weeks’ pay to the yard guy… sheesh.

  95. bondeng attractions says 22 April 2014 at 16:19

    The holidays are the perfect time to show your appreciation to those you provide you with helpful service throughout the year. When deciding on who and what to tip, be sure to take into consideration how often you/they visit, the personal attention you receive, and most importantly your budget!

  96. Tamara says 07 January 2018 at 21:40

    Like one commenter said, it really should depend on the amount of time the person gives you, the type of work etc. I’ve been an independent housecleaner for many years and I’ve had all types of clients from very generous to completely uncaring during the Christmas season. I never expected regular tips throughout the year, but at Christmas I always hoped that I would be acknowledged. (I even gave gifts to my regular clients or would make them special things). I’ve had clients who gave me a week off with pay and a Christmas gift/bonus on top of that, and I’ve had clients who would intentionally cancel my service the week before Christmas (without pay) just so they wouldn’t have to see me and acknowledge me for Christmas. I’ll be honest, it did make a dent in my Christmas and I couldn’t wait to find another client to replace them as soon as I could. They knew I was a single woman trying to make ends meet with no health/dental insurance, no paid vacation/sick leave or regular steady income (people cancelling last minute etc) Because of being self employed, I don’t have an employer to receive a Christmas bonus from each year. I never expected a crazy amount, but as a I was in their home, I pretty much knew what they could afford by the lifestyles they lived. Some of my wealthiest clients were very generous and some didn’t acknowledge me at all. And many who were not high income and were disabled or elderly and absolutely needed someone to clean for them, were very generous beyond their means. I have no problem with tipping the mail person, or garbage collectors if you truly want to. But I don’t believe it should ever be mandatory or expected since they are at each home for only a matter of minutes (unless they are doing extra work for you or they go above and beyond ). A self employed person who spends 2-8 hours per time in your home or on your property has only room for a very small amount of clients compared to the hundreds or close to a thousand people on a route of the above mentioned. If even half of those people were to get only $10-$20 each, that would be a crazy massive Christmas bonus along with great pay, steady monthly income and all of the benefits they receive. Getting a card from them pretty much demanding money from people who aren’t even clients is not right IMO and something their employers should not allow them to do. Tip if they’ve carried your couches or extra large items away each time they do it, that would be fair.

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