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The ABCs of Tips and Gifts

Blueprint, November/December 2007

These are the people in your neighborhood, the people that you meet each day -- and acknowledge with tokens of thanks once a year. But don't try to hit everyone on the list; you need to tip only the handful of regular characters whose services you appreciate the most. For more advice on making your list and checking it twice, refer to our Holiday Tip Sheet.

Assistant: gift (varies based on corporate culture and how long he's worked for you)
Babysitter: up to two nights' pay
Boss: small gift (if it's customary in your workplace) or holiday card
Building superintendent: $20 to $200 (ask around your building)
Client: gift (ask around your office to determine the appropriate amount to spend, or send a group gift, like a fruit basket)
Coworker: if you want to give a gift, do so outside the office -- unless you have a small token for everyone
Day-care worker: up to $75 gift
Dentist/doctor: holiday card
Dog groomer: cost of a visit
Dog walker: one week's pay
Doorman: $20 to $100 (ask around your building, and tip those who help you the most more generously)
Dry-cleaning deliverer: $10 to $30
Elevator operator: $15 to $40
Facialist: cost of a visit
Gardener: one visit's pay
Hair stylist: cost of a visit
Handyman: $15 to $40 (if employed by your building) or a gift (about one visit's pay)
House cleaner: one week's pay (if you use a service that sends a different person each time, skip the tip)
Lawn-care worker: one visit's pay
Mail carrier: up to $20 gift
Maitre d' (at favorite restaurant): $20 to $50
Manicurist/pedicurist: cost of a visit
Massage therapist: cost of a visit
Nanny/au pair: one week's to one month's pay, based on length of tenure and regional customs
Newspaper deliverer: $10 to $30
Nursing home worker: up to $50 gift
Package deliverer: FedEx workers can't take cash, but gifts under $75 are okay; UPS workers can accept cash
Parking attendant: $20 to $30
Personal trainer: the cost of a session (if she's affiliated with your gym, you don't need to tip, but you could give a gift)
Physical therapist: small gift or holiday card
Pool cleaner: cost of a visit

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Comments (3)

  • glo 6 Dec, 2007

    I wish the tip etiquette for doormen/superintendents could be a little more transparent. $20-$200 is a pretty wide range... and in a typical big-city building it's hard to approach your neighbors to talk honestly about this sort of thing. This is a source of neurosis for me every winter.

  • wolfietigerfly 23 Nov, 2007

    what about those who don't get paid very well who provide services to those in nursing homes? like the dietary people? the laundry workers? the housekeepers? i know from experience that they do not get paid very well at all and often get overlooked. these people see the residents just as much as any nurse or volunteer does and often get just as attached to the residents.

  • cvoigt 23 Nov, 2007

    Re: Tips/Gifts for nursing home workers-Nursing home workers are taught that it is unethical for us to accept gifts or money espically at hiloday time. We are paid very well to provide a service (and our clients pay a lot for those services). Families and the residents we care for should not have to feel they need to give more. Sometimes "Thank you" is enough.