I get so seriously stressed out around the holidays about whether or not I am giving out an appropriate tip.  I don’t want to be a scrooge but I don’t want to go embarrassingly overboard either! Here are a few of the guidelines that I have found to be quite standard.  Knowing that this is what other’s often do helps put me at ease!

Babysitter: One night’s pay or two nights if she is really awesome and you want to keep her around and a small gift from your child.

Nanny:  One week to one month’s pay depending on how long they have been caring for your child and how many children you have and a personal gift from the kids.

Day Care Staff:  If there is one staff member that clearly takes care of your child more than the others you might consider a tip of $25 to $75 or a gift card.  If there is a large team of caretakers, consider spreading that out among them and taking in a tin of baked goods that they can snack on in their break room.

Coach or weekly instructor:  Don’t give a tip but present a small personal gift from the child valued under $25.

Teacher: Don’t give cash to a teacher but instead write him or her a note of appreciation and present them with a gift card.  In my son’s classroom, all of the parents pooled together a little fund and the room mom purchased a gift card to a book store for the teacher.  A small personal gift from the child is a nice touch too but don’t let it take the place of a gift card.  Teacher’s get so many little nick-naks!

Mail Carrier:  Civil employees are not allowed to accept gifts with a value over $20 but consider a small gift card to a local coffee shop or book store.  If you really want to do something special for them, write a note of praise to their supervisor!

Hairstylist:  If you go to the same hairstylist often or if you hairstylist also plays the role of therapist in your life then consider generously tipping the cost of a haircut.  If you haven’t been going long, doubling your typical tip is a nice gesture.  Salon owners are not meant to accept tips so if your stylist owns the salon you frequent, take a nice gift instead that is the value of one haircut.   Don’t forget to double the tips of the assistants and helpers in the salon too!

Housekeeper: One weeks pay is a nice tip for a housekeeper.  Write a note of appreciation and include the cash tip inside.

Newspaper Delivery:  My newspaper delivery service provides an envelope with the name of my delivery guy.  Anything from $10 to $30 is appropriate.

Here are a few more tipping rules:


-Always put it in an envelope with a note. Even if the note is a really short “With thanks from the Whitmans” it is better than just handing over cash.

-Don’t give as much to someone who is new to your life because you haven’t developed a relationship with them yet.

-Whenever you feel inclined, a nice bag of hot chocolate or baked goods to go along with your tip as always appreciated.

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