Holiday Tipping Etiquette

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With the holidays, it is always nice to tip people, but there is always the question of how much? to whom? are gifts enough? To help us out Momtrends interviewed Etiquette expert, Lizzie Post (Emily Posts’ great-great granddaughter), in partnership with Bank of America, who shared some tips on how we can all navigate the fine art of holiday tipping, including who to tip, how much to tip and how to stay on budget doing so.

Momtrends: Who are the people that should always be tipped?

Lizzie Post:To me, holiday tipping is really holiday thanking, so it’s great to acknowledge the important service people in your life around the holiday season. The people who should always be tipped over the holidays are the service folks who provide their help to you and your family on a regular basis throughout the year – including your house cleaner, nanny, dog walker, manicurist, garbage man, and mailman, to name a few.

Momtrends: What is the policy on tipping mailmen, hairdressers, dry cleaners?

Lizzie Post:Holiday tipping varies when it comes to the different service people in your life. By law, mailmen aren’t allowed to accept cash, checks or gift cards, so a small gift is perfect for them. A small homemade treat or gift such as a travel mug or hand warmers – that are no more than $20 in value – would be perfect. Keep in mind that other service people are also unable to accept monetary gifts – including healthcare professionals and teachers – so the same applies to them. A gift the whole branch or department can share is one of the best options.

For hairdressers, you can tip either cash, in the amount of one regular session, or a gift. If you use other staff at your favorite beauty salon – manicurists or estheticians – these folks if seen regularly throughout the year would also get the cost of one regular session or a gift. If you choose to give cash it’s nice to include it in a card.

Momtrends: What is a standard tip for a nanny?
Lizzie Post: Over the holidays, you want to tip your nanny one week’s pay and a small gift from your children since this is someone who is often considered to be part of the family. Use this as a way to teach your children the basics of gift-giving etiquette. Books, gift certificates to their favorite restaurant or other thoughtful items are welcome gifts.

Momtrends: How do you tip on a budget?

Lizzie Post: It’s important to factor in tipping as part of your budget for the busy holiday season. Start planning in October to save and ensure you have enough to tip everyone on your list. Sometimes a homemade gift – festive cookies or holiday bark – is a great way to show your thanks when you’re on a tighter budget than usual. If you’re unable to tip or gift due to an extra tight year, then it’s important to show thanks with a holiday card. If you’re sticking to a tight holiday budget, using a tool like the Bank of America Mobile Banking App can help you easily check your bank accounts to make sure your spending is right on track as the holidays kick into high gear.

Momtrends: Can you tip in food?

Lizzie Post: A homemade treat that people can enjoy over the holiday season is perfectly fine. I make toffee and peanut brittle for my mailman, hair stylist, garbage and recycling collectors, and pet sitter. As I mentioned before, a thoughtful, homemade treat would be perfect for certain people like teachers, healthcare professionals, and mailman who may not be able to accept a monetary gift.

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Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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