Holiday tipping? How much to give?

So how much should you tip your dog groomer?

I wrote this article on holiday tipping a year ago for AOL. They’ve revived it so I thought I’d put it here as well. I suggest you take a look at the original story because there is a very good gallery that explains how much to give. I won’t replicate the gallery here but here is the article. 


There’s a reason why people appreciate the idea of a 15% tip on good service: it’s fairly easy to calculate and you don’t have to think about it unless you get truly awful service.

At the holidays many people want to give their regular service staff an extra something – but how much extra should you give?

Fortunately, etiquette experts have thought about these things, and offer us some guidelines for the holiday tipping season.Keep in mind that tipping is never obligatory. When I spoke to etiquette expert Louise Fox, she explained that tipping should be based on merit. Other etiquette experts including Emily Post agree. And if the thought of shelling out that much cash makes you wince as you consider your budget, don’t worry. All etiquette experts say to first consider your budget. If you tip throughout the year, then tipping extra during the holidays isn’t always necessary.

If you do decide you want to tip, Fox suggests keeping these factors in mind:

  • How long have you used the services of the person?
  • The type of establishment: Is it upscale or more modest?
  • Do you tip throughout the year?
  • The type of relationship you have with the service provider.

If you decide to give a cash tip, there are some accepted guidelines:

  • For hairstylists, manicurists, babysitters, cleaning lady/housekeepers, etc., the recommended amount is the equivalent of up to the value of one visit.
  • For postal workers and newspaper carriers: gifts up to $20. However, always check to see if government workers can accept tips. Most government offices have a cap on the amount.
  • Emily Post suggests $25-$70 for each daycare staff member or a gift from you and your child(ren). Check out her list, it’s very comprehensive.

Holiday tipping doesn’t always involve money, you can always make your gifts. Fox does suggest not giving more intimate gifts such as lingerie and perfume unless you know that person’s favourite items. She said to be attentive to the person’s conversation. “If they mention a perfume or wine that they like, then it’s alright to give those items to that person. Even then I would refrain from giving lingerie.”

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