‘Tis The Season For Tipping

money_tree5After years of uncertainty, I have mastered the art (certainly not a science) of holiday tipping. Even still, I have a perverse need to compare my tipping habits to the various standards published at this time of year. Am I tipping the right person? Is the gift an appropriate amount? Is it really OK to NOT tip my hairdresser (or lawn guy or other service professional) when s/he owns the business? For this year’s annual comparison, I consulted CNNMoney.com.

Turns out, I’m in line - more or less – with the “norm.” 

  • I tip the paper carrier, house cleaner, garbage collector and mail deliverer.
  • If I use the services of a manicurist, hair stylist, massage therapist or dog sitter in the weeks surrounding Christmas, I provide them with a more generous tip. (Although I don’t give a set percentage/amount, nor do I make a special effort to go in and tip them if I don’t have an appointment scheduled.)
  • I do not tip (or give gifts to) the UPS or FedEx guys. (And, really, even if I did want to tip them, their stealth deliveries are usually so unexpected that they’ve come and gone before I even realize it.) 
  • For the entrepreneur whose team takes care of our yard each week, I send a cash tip with our monthly payment and a note indicating the tip is for his employees. (That is, I did that back when we actually used a lawn service.)    

All told, I probably spend $350-$400 on holiday tipping. Is that amount a lot? A little? I’m not sure. But, I do know it’s what I CAN give with an appreciative heart and in the holiday spirit. And, to me, that’s the beauty of holiday tipping being an art, not a science.

So, Wise Women, how do you handle holiday tipping?

P.S. For those of you curious how Kids Night Out turned out from last week, know that at 10:10 pm I was toasting a successful event with my glass of Merlot. Successful. that is, if you don’t count the desperate search for a NorthFace jacket that went missing, the need to call a parent to pick up her homesick children, the icepacks needed for kids who collided during theatre sports games (I still don’t understand how bodily contact even happened),  the escape artist child who eventually required a one-on-one monitor to keep him corralled, the brother/sister team who delighted in tormenting each other and required continuous separation, and … well, you get the picture. It was successful because it was OVER. And no one was maimed or lost during the evening.  And, from the looks of the faces of most kids, a good time was had by all.  Thanks to all for your support and empathy as I angsted about the event.

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