How much should you give? Your guide to holiday tipping

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 5:34 AM CST
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It's a season of giving, and that includes thanking people who help us during the year with a holiday tip. But what's the proper amount for a tip?

Ashwaubenon financial adviser Kevin Klug says there are several things to weigh as you consider your tip.

"Think about how often are you coming across these people. How long have you been a client of this individual? So starting with like a hairstylist. It's appropriate to tip that person anywhere from 15-20 percent and a small gift. You might leaning toward a 20-25 percent tip, because a little extra tip now will help you get that last minute appointment throughout the year," says Klug.

Consider a tip that equals the cost of one service for people like personal trainers, message therapists, and dog groomers. These are people you might see on a regular basis during the year.

Klug says don't forget about those busy delivery drivers.

"With the amount of gifts that FedEx and UPS are dropping off at our door, especially this time of year, don't forget about them. You want to maybe tip them anywhere from $20 to $30 depending on how often they show up," says Klug.

Be careful with how much you're giving U.S. postal workers.

"Also with the U.S. Postal Service, you have to be careful. They're not supposed to receive any--accept any--cash or gift cards and nothing more than $20 in value," says Klug. "So you have to be careful with that. Maybe a baked good or beverage or something like that.

Wondering how much to get a daycare provider? Klug suggest between $25 and $70 and a small handmade gift from your child. Baked goods work, too.

For babysitters, Klug suggests you tip what you typically pay them for a few hours of watching your kids.

Remember to stay within your budget. Klug says your budget will help you determine how many people you can afford to give to this holiday season. If you can't afford to give money, a small token of your appreciation, like cookies or homemade items, goes a long way.


Child Care/Nannies/Teachers- $25-$70, small gift from child

Beauty/Personal Care- Tip should equal cost of service

Delivery Services- $10-$30, small gift for mail carrier

Restaurants- 20-25 percent of total bill

Child Care/Nannies

• You should tip your regular babysitter up to one evening’s pay and a small gift from your child. This doesn’t have to cost money - A handmade gift from your child can be even more valuable!

• A daycare provider should receive $25-$70 and a small gift from your child.

• You can give your child’s teacher a small gift too, but check the school’s policy to make sure it’s OK.

• I would include housekeepers in this category as well. If someone cleans your house each month, consider tipping half the amount of one service visit and/or a small gift.

Beauty/Personal Care

• You often see personal trainers, hair stylists and massage therapists year-round, so they should receive an extra tip during the holiday season. This should equal up to the cost of one session.

• You can also bring your hair stylist or manicurist a small gift.

• During the rest of the year, you should tip these people anywhere from 15% to 20%.

• If you like your barber or hair stylist, go for the 20%. Remember, there will be times when you need a last minute appointment - and your nice tip will pay off.

Delivery Services

• Depending on how often you get packages delivered, your UPS or FedEx driver should get $15-$25 dollars or a small gift of similar value.

• The newspaper carrier’s tip should be $10-$30, depending on how often you get the paper.

• It gets a little tricky when it comes to your mail carrier. By law, U.S. Postal Service mail carriers cannot accept cash, checks or gift cards.

• You can give your mail carrier a small gift, snack or beverage that costs less than $20.


• If you’re feeling generous this time of year, go ahead and tip your waiter or waitress 20-25 percent.

• During the rest of the year, you should tip between 15 percent and 20 percent at any restaurant.

• There are some exceptions where that percentage should be a little higher. This includes a local diner where you can grab a meal for cheap, like $5-a person. In this situation, a 40 percent tip would be nice.

• 40 percent of your $5 meal would only make it $7 total. You will make your server’s day!

Don't forget ...

• When figuring out holiday tips, don’t forget your regular dog groomer or dog walker, the doorman at your apartment or condo building, your regular mechanic or handyman… even your trash collector and gardener all appreciate an extra tip or gift this time of year.

• The big box store clerk deserves a tip if they carry a large item like a big screen TV or a treadmill to your car. The clerk averages about $10 an hour, so a $10 tip would surely make their day.

• In the end, holiday tipping is really holiday thanking. If money is tight, you can always bake some cookies or send a thank you card. Remember, it’s the thought that counts

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