Holiday Tipping & Gift Recommendations for Service Providers

December 8, 2015


You have likely considered giving a gift or tip to your valued service providers during the holiday season in order to show your appreciation for all they do. I know I would be lost without these key people in my life, and what better way to say thank you than spreading some holiday cheer. But have you wondered what is the appropriate gesture? Many people do, and I receive questions about it all the time, which prompted me to write this post. Below are some guidelines to consider when deciding who to thank and how much to spend on a tip or a gift. These are not rules just suggestions - use your judgment on what you feel is most comfortable for you. For more guidance, check out this article for gift ideas: "Holiday Gifting at Work: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sweater."


  • Housekeeper/cleaner: Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift

  • Barber: Up to the cost of one haircut

  • Beauty salon staff: Up to the cost of one salon visit, divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you

  • Personal trainer: Up to the cost of one session - Massage therapist: Up to the cost of one session

  • Au pair or live-in nanny: Up to one week’s pay and a gift from your child or children

  • Regular babysitter: Up to one evening’s pay and a small gift from your child or children

  • Day care provider: A gift from you or $25-$70 for each staff member who works with your child or children and a small gift from your child or children

  • Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper): One week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.

  • Pet groomer: Up to the cost of one session

  • Dog walker: Up to one week’s pay

  • Pool cleaner: Up to the cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew

  • Newspaper delivery person: $10-$30

  • Mail carrier: A gift is preferred as the United States Postal Service has specific regulations around monetary gift giving*. (see guidelines at end of post)

  • Package deliverer: Small gift in the $20 range. (Only if you receive regular deliveries.) Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts

  • Building superintendent: $20-$80- Doorman: $15-$80. If there are multiple doorman then $15 each or more- Garage attendants: $10-$30 or a small gift

  • Handyman: $15-$40- Trash and recycling collectors: $10-$30 each (check city/town regulations regarding monetary gifts if not a private service).

  • Yard and garden: $20-$50 each

*United States Postal Service Gift Regulations:*

United States Postal Service Gift Regulations: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

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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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