Holiday Tipping: Are There Rules?

5:00 PM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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Tis the season for giving gifts. But what about tips?

It's true, holiday tipping is as much a part of December as is putting a tree up in the middle of your house. But who and how much should you tip?

We compared notes of two experts, Angie Hicks of popular website Angie's List and Kiplinger's Personal Finance Publication. The two had nearly identical suggestions on common courtesy tipping practices. Realize these are only suggestions and tipping is a nice gesture, but not mandatory.

We start with the mailman. Our "experts" suggest you give him or her a small gift. It's important to know mail carriers are forbidden from accepting cash and your gift should not exceed $20 in value. Tipping a teacher is similar. Again cash is not recommended here, but a small gift is - something like cookies and/or a gift card would suffice.

If you use a cleaning person, a dog groomer or a hairstylist, our experts recommend you give cash equivalent to a one time visit. In otherwords, if you pay your cleaning person $50 per visit, you should tip them $50 at the holidays, assuming they've been reliable for you all year. But the thought of tipping a hair dresser a cost of one visit could be hairy and expensive. Again, remember these are only recommendations.

Do you have your kids in a daycare? If so, the recommended tip is at least the cost of one day plus a small gift from the child. However Kiplinger's actually recommends a week's pay for the tip.

If you have a handyman that you rely on year-round a small monetary gratuity is recommended, something between $15-$50.

After polling six different people across West Michigan, we found one reliable year round worker often went forgotten, the garbage man. If you can find a way to get it to him or her, it's recommended you tip them cash anywhere from $10-$30.

A little tipping can certainly make for a Merrier Christmas to those who's hard work you appreciate.


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