Who? What? How? Seeking advice on holiday-time tipping

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WHO do we tip and what should we give? (Photo by: Mae ArmstrongCC BY 2.0)
Growing up in New York City, I was vaguely aware that my parents “tipped” the doormen and the superintendent of my apartment building sometime around the end of December. I’m pretty sure they tipped the mail carrier who usually served our building, too.

Now as an adult newly living in a city in Texas, in a rental apartment complex, and I have no idea what I should do about holiday tipping… or is it more like a “bonus” to say thank you… or even a bribe intended to secure future services in the coming year?

My partner and I know and like the two apartment managers and maintenance guy. We also adore the three teachers in our baby daughter’s daycare classroom. Are these people we should be tipping? Should we be giving cash or gift cards? If so, how much? Should we be giving cookies? Should we just give a thank you/happy holidays card? We are really lost and really want to do this right!

Let’s hear your who, what, and hows of holiday tipping!

Comments on Who? What? How? Seeking advice on holiday-time tipping

  1. Here in France we do not tip in itself but the mailman sells calendars (either with kitten or puppies looking ridiculous with ribbons, either with snowy landscapes ) and you give him what you want….

  2. Not really tipping, but we recently realized (via text chain) that a number of folks who also use the same dog walker pay daily walks – including days she is on vacation (like this coming US thanksgiving and following Friday). I had heard of that with nannies, but not as much with dog walkers – we were very supportive and promptly adjusted to that. If something like that is possible for your financial situation, stating you’re going to do that with a holiday card/tip might be nice.

  3. Postal carriers have a rotating day off (Always Sunday, plus another day that changes every week) so if you want your regular carrier to get the tip, make sure you don’t leave it on his/her day off, or it might be taken by some random substitute carrier who will never deliver your mail again.

    My husband is a carrier, and we appreciate everything his customers give to him, whether it be a gift card, money, homemade goodies, or even just a card.

  4. don’t forget you dog/cat groomer! as one myself we greatly appreciate cards/gifts/extra tips, really anything that shows that our services are appreciated. Money is great but just knowing that we’re thought about can be wonderful as well.

  5. As a teacher (former teacher?), It’s sad to say that teachers have begun to look at homemade treats suspiciously because of attempted poisonings of teachers. No, really, I’ve heard of real instances where that’s happened. :/

    Plus, everyone gets so much junk food during this time of year that gift cards (especially to a local bookstore, even a $5 card is much appreciated), candles, a gift certificate that will pay for a meal at a local restaurant, a bouquet of flowers, or other such things are most appreciated. Teachers often don’t care for items that are made to give to teachers, though, like the “I love to teach!” ornaments and mugs decorated with rulers and apples.

    Like someone else said, a handmade card from the student, whether they’re three or 18, is always much appreciated. I had some middle school girls who I had an awful time with in the first few months of teaching make me a beautiful card. That little gesture told me that I was actually appreciated and signaled to me that things had truly turned the corner with them.

    • I should add that middle school and high school teachers don’t traditionally get holiday gifts, but even a card for your child’s favorite teacher(s), especially in these hard times for teachers, is always appreciated.

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