Holiday Tipping Guide: Who You Tip and How Much to Give

‘Tis the season.

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If you think about it, the list of people who receive tips for their work doesn’t seem that long. Servers, valets, drivers, bellhops… trash haulers? 

Yep. Folks slinging garbage into the big truck and daycare workers, gardeners, trainers—the holidays are the perfect time to pay it forward by saying thanks for the hard work they do throughout the year. 

Not everyone can afford to tip, well, everyone. That said, money isn’t the only way to show your appreciation. Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman writes that “budget is first priority when deciding who, and how much you should tip this holiday season.”

And you don’t throw money around just because. Gottsman says you should “think about the service the person provides throughout the year and the frequency of your visits.” has a truly comprehensive list of potential tip recipients and is worth your time.

Forbes also put together a list. A few of these won’t apply at all, but it’s generally excellent for determining how best to tell a number of hard-working people you appreciate what they do throughout the year:

For Those Who Help With Your Home

Up to the cost of one cleaning. If a head cleaner uses a team, consider tipping the teammates individually.

Trash Collectors:
If there are no local restrictions on tipping public-service employees, give $10 to $25 per person.

Lawn Maintenance/Landscaper:
$20 to $50

Pool Service
: Equivalent of one week’s service

Apartment Superintendent:
$20 to $80. You can give more if you think he or she has done a stellar job this year.

$20 to $100. Whatever you give, consider giving each doorman the same amount to be fair.

Parking or Garage Attendants:
$10 to $50

Handymen, Exterminators, other Home-Service Providers:
$20 to $100

For Those Who Take Care of Your Loved Ones

Day Care Teacher:
$20 to $70, plus a small gift from your child.

School Teachers:
Small gift or gift card. Avoid cash, in favor of contributing to a class gift or gift certificate. Don’t forget to gift the teacher’s aide or paraprofessional.

Principal, School Nurse, School Secretary:
Small gift or card.

Bus Driver, Lunch Aide:

An evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child.

One week’s to one month’s pay, plus a small gift from your child.

Pet Sitter/Dog Walker/Groomer:
A cash gift equivalent to one service.

For Those Who Drop Off Your Packages

U.S. Mail Carrier:
Per federal regulations, you can only give them a gift worth $20 or less.

UPS/FedEx Delivery Person:
$20 to $25, or a small gift. FedEx drivers are allowed to receive tips and gifts under $75. While UPS prefers drivers to receive gifts, it leaves it up to the customer’s discretion.

Newspaper Delivery Person:
$10 to $30

For Those Who Help With Your Self Care

Hair Stylist:
$50 to $100, or a tip or gift card equivalent to one visit. With personal care, a tip should be based on the frequency with which you see a particular professional — consider giving a higher tip to a hair stylist or other professional you see every four to eight weeks.

Nail Technician:
$25 to $50, or a small gift.

Personal Trainer:
Up to the cost of one session.

Up to the cost of one session, or a small gift.