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Holiday Tipping–Naughty or Nice?

Posted by gratrueities on December 23, 2008

Given that we are neck-deep into the holiday season,  I’ve been rushing about finishing up last minute errands, gathering up gifts, wrapping, writing cards and checking my list, twice.

Part of all this activity is figuring out my annual holiday tipping strategy. It takes a lot of thought. Who to tip? Who not to tip? Will it be cash or candy?  (See’s or Peppermint Bark?) Or something else? How do I catch them? I.e., if it is the post-person, how do I get the tip to him?  Or the gardener? And, then, eckkk…is it all too much anyway? Maybe the idea is just to give up and not tip anyone?

That’s definitely not Nice.  This is no time to be naughty; in the spirit of the holidays, it is time to be generous and thoughtful.

Today my gardener, Luis and his crew came by. I stuffed $30.00 in an envelope with a big Feliz Navidad on it, and asked Luis to take everyone to lunch, on me.  Yesterday, I sent cash tips to both of my newspaper carriers. They definitely deserve it. I don’t have a doorman here at home (that would be me) so that’s one tip I don’t need to stress over. But, if I did have a doorman, I would go with the “tip big and tip early” approach. This year I tipped my garbage man, and of course, my postpeople.

I confess I did not tip my hairdresser but with good reason, I think. Firstly, she owns the shop and in general, it’s acceptable to not tip the shop owners unless there is some outstanding reason to do so. And, second, she and I are just figuring each other out. Her prices have been fluctuating which gives me pause. I’m going to wait one more visit and see how things go before establishing a tip expectation.

So, I think I’m pretty much on top of the holiday tipping for another year. Phew…

For all of you still trying to figure out your personal holiday tipping strategy, here’s an interesting list from Yahoo! news.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!


4 Responses to “Holiday Tipping–Naughty or Nice?”

  1. T(r)ipped up? said

    I am ever confused about tipping salon owners – hair, nail, etc. and whether it it Christmas or not. The person who does my nails became a salon owner – and though I still tip the customary 20% I hesitated – only our history kept our relationship intact!

  2. gratrueities said

    Dear T(R)Ipped Up-
    You’ve hit on one of the most confusing aspects of tipping, one that always elicits a wide-range of debate. There really does not appear to be a single right or wrong answer to this question about tipping salon owners.
    One approach is to think of the tip as a “thank-you” for service well done. If the service provider (manicurist or hairdresser) provides a service that you feel is well-done, in a clean, pleasant environment, perhaps even going beyond your basic expectations, then a tip may be in order, regardless of who owns the salon. If, on the other hand, the service does not meet your expectations, then it may be best to forgo the tip.
    Another consideration is your needs within the context of your relationship with the service provider. For many years I had an inflexible, unpredictable work environment. This meant that I was often late for my hair appointments. From the beginning, I tipped my hairdresser a generous 20% plus–and he was the salon owner. He always accomodated my schedule, even when I was running late or had to cancel and reschedule at the last minute. I know I got better service because of the tip in our relationship.

  3. Anony.Miss said

    People in that industry must see such a wide range of tipping habits. I give my manicurist an extra $2-3 on a $15 paint job, and seem to still give the same amount if I am in there for $45.
    If I forget an appt or cancel at the very last minute, I pay the total (without tip) that I would have spent for the service anyway. I gave her $25 and a rhinestone pin for a tip this holiday.

    I give my mail carrier $20/year tip plus candy during the holidays, candy for the garbage guy, and candy for the yard guy. This candy is usually a box from our local hand-made candy shop.

    I forgot the yard guy this year- whoops! But he does live in a rental we have and gets $100 lower than we would have charged anyone else.

    I gave my housekeeper two paid days off, $50 to spend in a restaurant, and a giant bottle of vodka.

    It’s interesting to see what people give. I think I am a generous restaurant tipper- better too much than too little, especially if it means not having to ask for change and being able to leave the money on the table and walk out.

  4. Anony.Miss said

    Correction: candy for the mail carrier and the $20 plus candy went to the paper delivery woman.

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