BOSTON (CBS) – Traditionally, the holiday season is the time when many Americans choose to thank those who provide services for them year-round. CBSN Boston’s Breana Pitts Talks to an Etiquette Expert Jodi Smith about who you should tip, how much and when.
BP: Do you believe we should tip people like the mail carrier, the doorman, the security guard if you live in the building, the garbage collector, etc.?
JS: Almost the entire list. Everyone except the mail carrier. If your mail carrier is a federal employee who delivers mail from the United States Postal Service, they are not allowed to accept tips, according to ethics rules. You can give them a gift, so recognize them by giving them a gift. All the others on your list, these are the people who make your life easier all year long and you should absolutely tip them off.
BP: How can people figure out how much they should limit, and is it different for different workers?
JS: This is one of those things where I wish there was a magic number, and I can tell everyone that this is how much you tip. But it’s different. Some of us live in modest houses, some of us live in luxury houses. Based on where you are, are you in the middle of Boston or are you further west in the Berkshires? Where you live, your geographic area, as well as where you actually make your home, those prices help decide. So as a general guideline, I’d say between $50 and $200, but it depends. It depends on the type of lifestyle you have. The more lavish your lifestyle, the better person you should become.
BP: What about group gifts? Like let’s say, parents want to go all out to buy a gift for their child’s teacher?
JS: I love the group gift, because a teacher can only have so many “Teacher #1” mugs, especially if they’ve been teaching for 15, 20 years. Instead, ask the parent, the caretaker of the class, to organize a group gifting session, and talk to the teacher. It was not a complete surprise. One year for my kids’ teachers, we’ve given them e-readers like Kindles, as well as gift certificates to be able to purchase books and download them online. Another teacher really wanted to be able to have a nice dinner with their spouse, and so we got them a gift certificate for the nicest restaurant in town. So talk to the teacher and please, to all those teachers out there who don’t have room in their closet for the #1 teacher mugs, make a group gift, please!
BP: Aside from a teacher, who among the people should we make sure to tip this holiday season?
JS: Everyone else makes your life easier. Your hairdresser, any kind of manicurist/pedician if you go to a spa, if you go to the gym regularly, newspaper delivery man, if you have your lawn mowed, if you have a driveway be well ventilated, if you have house cleaners, dog walkers, babysitters, nannies. All the people who make your life easier year round, these are the people you want to tip.
BP: Some people often tip, they may have taken a break from last year because they are struggling financially with the pandemic. So what is your message to those who can’t afford it again this year? Is there any other way people can say thank you?
JS: A lot of times people, if you lose your job, if life is really hard for you financially, will think, “I just don’t want to tip.” And that’s fine if your finances don’t allow you to tip and you haven’t used the service, then you don’t need to tip. But at the very least, write a handwritten card to this person and let them know that you appreciate them, that you hope that times get better. If you’re a baker and want to make some gourmet cookies and give them the cake along with a card – do something to make sure they notice. So someone enjoys your job picking up trash, these are the people that even when you’re in financial trouble, they’re still picking up your trash. You want to recognize them. If you don’t have the money to do it right now, at least credit them with a card and maybe some homemade cookies. And then, when your finances are better, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, in the spring, or even July 4th, tip them when you can. But don’t ignore the end-of-year tip because the message when you pass it up is that you didn’t appreciate them. You want to make sure you at least admit everyone at the end of the year.
BP: When should people give year-end tips? Before Christmas?
JS: Now. Right after Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time for these people to show off their talents with tips that will make the holiday special for themselves and their families. So, if you’re listening to this, now’s the time to get your Excel spreadsheets out, find out who made your life easier, and be generous. Be as generous as possible with these year-end tips.
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/06/holiday-tipping-etiquette-expert-advice-how-much-who/ Holiday Tips – Who Should Get One, And How Much? Advice from an etiquette expert – CBS Boston