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.