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2008 Holiday Tipping Guide for Recessionistas

Posted By bectemp on Dec 2, 2008 at 2:28AM

picture of a hundred dollar bills with a handle on them to look like a bag for holiday tipping'Tis the season to be tipping, Fa la la la, la la la la!  But how much should a recessionista tip and whom should she tip in these tough economic times?



The Etiquette Guru, Peter Post, of the Emily Post Institute and other authorities indicate that tipping can depend on a multitude of factors:

  • Your finances. First and foremost, holiday tipping shouldn't be about going into debt. If your finances are tight, consider another form of tipping, such as homemade cookies.  But in the purest sense, tipping is a way of thanking for good service, so if all you can afford is a lovely handwritten note acknowledging good service, then you have accomplished the task.
  • The quality of the service.
  • The frequency of the service.
  • How long you've used the service.
  • Regional custom. Where you live can affect how much you tip. The biggest tippers live in the Northeast.  Southerners usually tip with homemade gifts. Midwesterners use a combination of both.  So be knowledgeable of your local customs.

The general consensus for holiday tipping, despite variations, is as follows:

Holiday tips for service providers who provide you service normally equals the cost of one visit, although you can reduce that to $20 or so if your patronage is sporadic.

  • Hairdressers or barbers.
  • Manicurists.
  • Facialists.
  • Personal trainers.
  • Massage therapists.
  • Regular after-hours baby sitters (not nannies or day care workers).
  • Housecleaners (unless they are full time).
  • Pet groomers.


Holiday tips for service providers who provide you service regularly but briefly typically get $10 to $30.

  • Newspaper deliverers.
  • Parking or garage attendants.
  • Trash collectors.
  • Any regular delivery person (for food, laundry, overnight packages, whatever).


Whether or not you give a gift or a tip, proper etiquette would suggest that you write a handwritten note thanking the person for their services.

Who are you planning on tipping this year?  Will the amount change from last year?

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Source:  Consumer Reports, Emily Post 2008


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