Did you get a holiday card from your newspaper delivery guy? Did your building manager send out a staff list of all the people you “might want to thank” this year? Yep, it’s holiday tipping season in New York City.
OK, cynicism aside, the truth is we’re happy to show the people whose services we use how grateful we are — it’s just figuring out the proper etiquette that can be grating on our sensibility at a time of year when we’re already stressed. “People always worry about doing the wrong thing,” said Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette 18th edition and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post. “They get nervous that someone will think of them as the cheapskate or the thoughtless person.”
But the truth is, holiday tipping (or gift giving) is more about your personal budget and showing appreciation in whichever way you feel comfortable. In fact, in tough economic times, even just a heartfelt thank you note will do the trick, Post said. (Yes, even in one of the most expensive cities in the world — we asked.) To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions from the Emily Post Institute on who gets a tip and how much. And here’s a bonus: Post said to take caution when giving gift cards. “Cash or a gift is a better way to go,” she said.
The peace of mind you get from knowing your pooch isn’t cooped up all day is priceless. But as far as a tip, go for up to one week’s pay if giving cash, or a gift.(Credit: Flickr / yourdon)
Babysitter / Day-care provider
For a babysitter, consider giving up to one night’s pay as a tip. If you bring your child to day care, give a gift or $25 to $70 for each staff member who works with your child. A small gift from your child is also a nice touch.(Credit: iStock)
Live-in nanny or au pair
You likely know this person well, so this might be the occasion to choose a gift over cash. But a tip of up to one week’s pay and a gift from your child is also appropriate.(Credit: iStock)
Cash or a gift are both appropriate options here. You should tip between $10 and $30 for each person.(Credit: Flickr / vyelevich)
Doorman or superintendent
You probably see your doormen more than you see your mother, and they’ve always got a smile on their face when they greet you. The range here is a large one, so you’ll have to use your discretion. Give a cash tip of anywhere from $15 to $80 per person, according to the Post institute. A gift for each person would also be appropriate.
Superintendent: If your building has a superintendent, the range is between $20 and $80, or a gift.(Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt)
If the same person grooms your pet all year, give a gift or cash up to the value of one session.(Credit: Flickr / wendygig)
You shouldn’t ever give your child’s teacher cash, which could be seen as a bribe. Instead, opt for a small gift — a book, school supplies or something chosen by your child will go a long way.(Credit: iStock)
Hair salon staff
Because they talk you down from your crazy ideas and work magic with a blow dryer, show your hairdresser how you appreciate him or her with a cash tip or a gift. A tip should be up to the cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works on you. And not having an appointment near the holidays is no excuse — make sure to drop in or mail the tip in a card. Same goes for a barber.(Credit: iStock)
At the end of a long day in the smelly city, there’s nothing better than walking into your apartment to the scent of Lysol. Your cleaning person was here. For the holidays, thank them with a tip equal to one week’s pay and/or a small gift.(Credit: iStock)
They brave the elements and they get up really early. Show your appreciation with a tip of $10 to $30. If you tip regularly throughout the year, consider throwing in a few extra bucks with your regular tip near the holidays.(Credit: iStock)