End of the Year Tipping — A Guide to Holiday Charity

You’ve made your list (and checked it twice). You’ve made all of the charitable donations that you give this time of year. So now, you can kick back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season, right?

Not quite.

The holiday season is a season of giving, and if you’re able to this year, you should always be sure to join the vast majority of Americans that either purchase gifts for or tip those who have provided services for either you or your family throughout the year. We’re talking your kids’ teachers, the mailman, doctors and other healthcare workers, cleaning staff and housekeepers, personal trainers, hairstylists and other types of caretakers.

Yes, when you really come to think of it, there are a lot of individuals who play in an important role in your life on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. And while we’re certain these individuals earn your verbal praises, it’s always nice to say “thank you” with something a little extra around the holidays.

Like we said above, more and more Americans are tipping or gifting service providers. According to a poll on Care.com, 80 percent of all those surveyed say that they give tips around the holidays. Fifty four percent of those polled indicated they tip at least three people. So how much should you tip? And is there anything that you can do to show your appreciation if a tip or another gift isn’t in the budget this year?

How much should you tip? We suggest prioritizing your list and giving more to the service providers who have the greatest impact on your life for that given year. This may vary from year to year, but here’s a look at how to handle certain categories of providers:

Housekeepers: To fairly tip a housekeeper, think about how often they come to clean your home. If it’s once a week, you should tip more than if they just service your home monthly. For a tip, we’d suggest giving them about half of what you’d pay them on a single service. So if you pay about $100 per week, a $50 tip would be considered a very generous one.

Teachers: Teachers work hard to educate your children for nine months a year, so the holidays are a great time to show them how much you appreciate their efforts. It’s generally not very tactful to gift a teacher money, but a gift or gift card between $30 and $50 is usually adequate.

Babysitters/care providers: Have a regular babysitter? Do any of your children attend daycare while you’re at work? Don’t forget about these providers too. For babysitters, usually a typical night’s out worth of pay will suffice. For daycare workers, consider at least a $25 tip or gift for each worker that cares for your child.

Personal trainers: Again, what you give a personal trainer will depend on how much you use his or her services. If you’re in the gym one hour per day, three days per week, you’ll want to give more than if you just attend a session a week. For a trainer you see often, consider gifting the cost of a full session of training. If you see your trainer at a lesser frequency, half of a session is fair.

Barber/hairstylist: Unless you’re someone that doesn’t have a go-to hairstylist or barber, you should definitely consider tipping or giving a small gift to these providers. After all, they help you look good. Appropriate tips for these providers is usually anywhere from $10 to $60, but will depend on how close you are to these individuals, how long you’ve been seeing them and how often you seek their services.

Other professionals: Curious about what to do for the mailman? The sanitary workers? The kid that delivers your morning newspaper (provided you still receive one)? First, be sure to check with any city or government workers to be sure they can accept either cash or gifts. If they can, anything from $10 to $30 in cash or the form of a gift is considered generous.

Not able to gift or tip the aforementioned this year? A handwritten card thanking them for everything they do is a powerful way to show gratitude too.

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