‘Tis the season for giving and for thanking.

That’s what a holiday tip is all about: Giving Thanks.

Often times the size of the tip does not matter as much as the HEART that goes in to it.

No matter whether – or what – you tip remember the MOST important part is to recognize the person’s hard work and how they make your life easier/better.

Write a quick note (two or three sentences) from the heart.

Don’t blow your own budget by trying to impress with tips. Impress with your thanks.

It is acceptable to opt for homemade gifts (food or crafts).


So, what’s the standard?

It seems like no one will really talk about it. Even on our Facebook Page we asked the question and people tried to avoid the ‘money talk’.

So how do you know what to do?

Well, I’ve researched a bit for some average thoughts on the issue of holiday tipping.

Here are a few common folks who help us out on a regular basis and the common holiday tips they get.

(Scroll to the bottom for links to my favorite resources):


Regular Babysitter

Tip with cash and a gift from your child(ren). Amount: About one evening/day of pay.

Day care provider

Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your child(ren). Amount: $25-$75 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren)


Public School: Check with your child’s school. Many have strict rules prohibiting parents from combining funds. Some schools even put a $3 limit on gifts. Also, homemade food is now frowned upon in many public schools (because of allergies and such.)

Private School:  Consumer Reports polled their members and said 62% gave about $40.

Home Health Employees

Check with your agency. Most have specific rules. Often a thoughtful gift from you works.


Cash and/or gift. Amount: Up to the amount of one week’s pay

Nursing home employees

A gift (not cash). Check company policy. Often they ask for a gift that can be shared by the staff (flowers or food)


Cash or gift. Amount equal to one haircut.

Beauty Salon Staff

Cash or gift depending on whether you tip well after each service. Amount: The cost of one visit divided for each staff member who works with you.

Personal Trainer

Cash or Gift. Up to the cost of one session

Massage Therapist

Cash or gift. Up to one session or gift

Newspaper Delivery Service

Cash or small gift. Amount $10-$30.

Mail Carrier

Small gift only. The USPS has very strict policies for gifts.

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service are allowed to accept the following items during the holiday season:

  • Snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.
  • Small gifts that have little intrinsic value (travel mugs, hand warmers, etc…) and are clearly no more than $20 in value.
  • Perishable items clearly worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch.

Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept the following:

  • Cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.

Package Deliverer

Small gifts. No cash. Amount: $20 range.


Cash or gift. Amount $15-$40

Trash/Recycling collectors

$10 to $30 each for private service; for public service, check your local municipality for regulations as some areas may not allow tipping.


Real Simple

Consumer Reports

(Christmas Cash Photo)

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Jen Sill

For nearly 15 years Jennifer spent her time clawing her way up the chain as a television producer and newsroom manager. She's helped create and produce newscasts and talkshows. Just as she was realizing some of her professional goals, she decided to give it all up for a family. Although Jennifer has lived in Miami and L.A., she has always called Nebraska home. She always knew she wanted to raise her children in the Midwest. Jennifer is now trying to find her way in a new world. She may be frenzied and frazzled sometimes, but she would not give up being a mom to her almost four year old and her almost two year old for anything.