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LYDIA RAMSEY: How not to stress over holiday tipping

The holidays mean parties, shopping, cooking, decorating, greeting cards and gift-giving.

They also mean tipping. And of course, I am not just speaking of the day-to-day tipping that goes on all year. I am referring to holiday tipping — the practice of giving an extra amount of money or a special gift to those who provide valuable services to you throughout the year.

Those people might be your newspaper carrier, hairdresser or barber, housekeeper, pet sitter and the list goes on. It is challenging to figure out whom to tip and how much.

Holiday tipping is a way of showing appreciation to people who make your life easier and more pleasant all year long. Start with a list of people to whom you would like to demonstrate your gratitude. After you have made you list, your next step is to figure the amount for each and, finally, do the math to see how this all fits within your budget.

No rules set in stone, but these guidelines should help master the art of tipping during the holidays.

• Tip according to the quality and frequency of the service rendered.

• Consider your own budget in determining the amount.

• Present a monetary tip in a card or a small gift with along with a handwritten note.

• Give it personally whenever possible.

• Do it within the week of the holiday or shortly before.

• Offer it joyously, not begrudgingly.

Now that we’ve established the process, let’s consider who and how much. The following suggestions are offered in hopes of eliminating some of the confusion as well as the stress surrounding holiday tipping.

• Housekeeper — an amount equal to the cost of a visit.

• Gardner — $20-$50.

• USPS mail carrier — USPS has its own rules regarding tipping. Cash gifts are not allowed, but customers may offer holiday gifts such as baked goods, candy or fruit. Just don’t leave them in your mailbox overnight.

• Newspaper carrier — daily $25; weekend $10. Your carrier usually provides a card with an address.

• Teachers, tutors, coaches and trainers for your children — small gift from your child. Another approach is for several families to go together and purchase a quality gift from all in the group. Cash gifts may be construed as bribes for good grades or high scores.

• Baby sitter — one night’s pay plus a small gift from your child.

• Full-time nanny — one week’s or one month’s pay depending on length of employment.

• Dog groomer — the cost of a session.

• Dog walker or sitter - one day to one week’s pay depending on how they are employed.

• Nail technician — $15-$20.

• Massage therapist — $15 20.

• Hairdresser — the cost of a usual visit. If you have extra services provided during the holidays such as coloring or perming, you need not match that costly visit.

The list goes on. If you belong to a private club, unless a single amount is collected to be distributed to all, there are servers, receptionists and activities personnel to be considered. Good judgment and an attitude of gratitude should be your guide.

When we think of tipping, we usually think of cash. However, if this is a difficult time and you can’t afford to give cash to all these people, make or bake a holiday gift. In some cases a simple handwritten note of thanks is sufficient. When times are better, you can be more generous.

The most important thing is to let these people know how valuable their service and their relationship are to you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your point.

 

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, professional speaker, trainer and author of Manners That Sell. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her website at www.mannersthatsell.com to leave a comment, ask a question or receive more information about her services.

 

 

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Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, professional speaker, trainer and author of Manners That Sell. Contact her at 912-598-9812 or visit her website at www.mannersthatsell.com to leave a comment, ask a question or receive more information about her services.

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