Holiday Tipping Etiquette: What’s Really Appropriate?

BOSTON (CBS) — The holiday season not only presents a shopping challenge, there is also the question of tipping.

There are many service people who make our lives easier, and now is a great time of year to show your appreciation.

WBZ News Radio’s Laurie Kirby spoke with Joan Goldwasser of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine about the proper tipping etiquette.

Listen To Kirby’s Interview With Goldwasser.

If you can, people that you come into contact with on a regular basis, or people who are important to you are the ones you want to tip.

Trash and recycling: These are the people that come to your house every week and remove your smelly, dirty trash. They should get between $10 and $30. Goldwasser said if there is more than one person who cleans up your street, you can give $10 to each worker.

Postal Worker: Postal workers are not allowed to accept cash gifts, but you can give them a gift of cookies, fruit or candy. Healthy granola bars are also an option. Goldwasser suggests giving postal workers something they will be able to eat on their route, and it should not cost more than $20.

Newspaper Delivery Person: The person who delivers the paper to your doorstep every morning should get between $10 and $30, unless you tip on a monthly basis. In that case, Goldwasser says the delivery person should only get a few extra dollars at the end of the year.

Teachers: Cash is really not an appropriate gift, Goldwasser said. Instead, get your child’s teacher a gift card to Staples or Home Depot and a nice note, saying “We appreciate all you hard work.”

Hair Stylists: You never really have to tip your hairstylists, but if you feel it is something you would like to do, Goldwasser suggests tipping your stylists the cost of one visit. If there is more than one person doing your hair, split the tip amongst all of them.

If you go once or twice a year, $20 is sufficient, according to Goldwasser.

Cleaners: People who clean your house should also be tipped about the cost of one visit.

There is no rule that says you must give out tips, it really depends on your financial situation, and what you are able to do. “If your budget doesn’t allow it, you can write a letter to the person you wanted to tip and say ‘This has nothing to do with the service you’ve given to me, how I feel about your performance. This year, it’s just not financially possible to tip,” Goldwasser said.

More from Laurie Kirby
  • sean kelly

    There are no regulations about tipping your letter carrier. He or she delivers yours mail 6 days a week. If you are happy with your service a cash/gift card would be greatly appreciated.

    • James M.

      Ya…I dunno, this tipping guide seems oddly stingy and kind of nose upturned inaccurate, what gives? Who would write a letter to someone saying, “How I feel about your performance…”

  • James M.

    And “Healthy Granola Bars?” My mailman is probably one of the coolest guys I know, but I think he would look at it and say, “Really?”

  • JustMe

    Tip my trash collectors? Are you kidding? My mail carrier? Teachers? I never gave anything to my teacher, it was not allowed. It costs me 80 bucks to get my hair done, I am not giving my hair dresser an extra 80 bucks. Who the heck is the person that comes up with these rules. Obviously someone with more money then brains.

    • lucretia

      it should be “than” brains–no wonder you think the way you do!

  • Scooby

    We always tip everyone above except the cleaners. We clean ourselves thank you! People forget that waiters/waitresses depend on tips for their hard work. We are not rich but generous. JustMe is a segment of people that is all about me.Merry Christmas.

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