Who To Tip And How Much

Ah, holiday tipping, that peculiarly American pastime that erupts into an orgy of envelopes and awkward “thank you”s at the end of every year. Kiplinger tries the impossible: putting together a guide for who to tip and how much to give. Even they admit that it’s nigh impossible to create a definitive guide—they suggest “handing out end-of-the year tips for one to three people who have given you exemplary service during the year.”

Here are few of their suggestions:

CLEANING PERSON
How much to tip: The cost of one visit if he or she visits weekly or bi-weekly. If you use a cleaning service that works in a team, a box of chocolates for the team is customary.

LETTER CARRIER
How much to tip: The U.S. Postal service says gifts must be under $20 in value [and should not be cash] . A gift card at Dunkin’ Donuts or a similar store that could serve as an off-duty for the carrier’s route is acceptable.

BABY SITTER
How much to tip: Nanny or au pair — one week’s pay and a small gift from the child; regular sitter — one to two nights’ pay; day-care provider — $25 to $70. Only give a holiday tip if you’ve frequently used the sitter during the year or you had to call on them in an 11th hour emergency.

We just wish there was some sort of anti-tip for our perpetually angry mailman, who actually throws boxes up the stairs so he doesn’t have to climb them. (Yeah, we’ve complained. It still happens.)

“Holiday Tipping Tip Sheet” [Kiplinger]
“What You Need to Know About Holiday Tipping” [Kiplinger]
(Photo: Getty)