Holiday Tipping Guide


Aunts, cousins, grandparents, spouses and, of course, the kids! It seems like the list of people on our “nice” list rivals Santa’s. Adding to that already long list of people to buy presents for may seem crazy (The time! The money!), but there are other people in our lives that deserve an extra shout out at Christmas. They’re the ones that make living our lives a little easier (babysitters, I’m looking at you!). Conventional etiquette says holiday tipping is a must, but whom do you tip? And how much? In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m no etiquette expert (despite that time in middle school I took part in cotillion).

However, I have come up with a list of people our family thanks every Christmas season and I thought I would share my holiday tipping guide with you to help check off another box on that holiday to-do list. 


My sanity remains intact thanks to our capable sitters! Generally, you should tip one or two nights’ pay, but if you know your sitter(s) well, a gift is appropriate too. In the past I’ve given gift cards to their favorite stores, which goes over well with teen and college-age sitters. My three-year-old loves to craft so this year I’ll have her make a little something to include with their gift.

Hair Stylist/Barber/Manicurist

A hair stylist can make your hair look good and give tired moms some time to relax. A typical holiday tip is the cost of the service — if you get a $40 haircut, the holiday tip should be $40. The same rule applies to barbers and manicurists. I’ve also given my favorite hair stylist a gift card to Sephora because I knew how much she loved buying beauty products there (again, the gift card value should be the same as the cost of the service). There is always room to personalize!

Garbage/Recycling Crews

Our garbage crew always leaves a signed Christmas card a few weeks before Christmas. It’s a nice gesture, but it’s also a gentle reminder to give them a holiday tip. A good rule of thumb is $10 per garbage person. Worried your card with the money for them will get lost? Tape it to the top of your garbage can like I do! They’ll never miss it☺.

Mail Carrier

If you’re an Amazon Prime lover like me, you keep your mail carrier busy especially during the holidays. A small gift or gift card is appropriate (a grocery store gift card is my personal fav to give). Keep in mind the U.S. Postal Service does have a $20 limit on gifts for its workers, and they are prohibited from accepting cash or a cash equivalent such as a Visa gift card.

Newspaper Carrier

Do people still get the newspaper delivered? If you do, don’t forget your newspaper carrier. I’m a digital subscriber, so I’m not an expert in this category. But, Real Simple recommends a cash gift in the $10 to $30 range or an amount equal to a month’s subscription.

Dog Sitter/Groomer/Walker

Our dog sitter regularly goes above and beyond. She collects mail, waters our plants and even shares pics with us of how our pup is doing while we’re away. Again, I usually give a grocery store gift card valued at $25. The tip for your dog groomer works the same as your hair stylist (haha). The tip should be the cost of one session.

Dry Cleaner

My local dry cleaner has worked small miracles on occasion and even cleaned a purse at no charge. My regular guy addresses me by name and carries the big loads out to the car. See, customer service isn’t dead! I’ve got a good thing going so I usually give a small gift like candy or chocolates.

Landscaper/Pool Cleaner

My husband is our lawn and landscaping crew (thank goodness because I hated mowing the lawn as a kid!). I don’t think our kiddie wading pool is big enough to hire a pool cleaner so I’ll have to do. But some of you do have lawn crews and pool cleaners and you should thank them with a holiday tip too. The proper tip is usually the cost of one visit to mow your lawn or clean your pool. The cost of one visit can then be divided among the workers.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering, what about my child’s teacher? Or the daycare staff? That’s another category in my book. One of my fellow Knoxville Moms Blog contributors wrote about the best kind of gifts to give teachers here.

                    Who is on your list for a holiday tip? What do you usually give?


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