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Unsure What To Tip For The Holidays? Mamaroneck Expert Offers Advice

Melissa Leonard, an etiquette and protocol expert and the owner of Mamaroneck-based EstablishYourselfNY.com.
Melissa Leonard, an etiquette and protocol expert and the owner of Mamaroneck-based EstablishYourselfNY.com. Photo Credit: Submitted

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Finding the right holiday gift for friends and family can be stressful. Just as taxing: Figuring out who -- and what -- to tip.

According to Melissa Leonard, an etiquette and protocol expert and the owner of Mamaroneck-based EstablishYourselfNY.com, anyone who provides a service should be tipped. That includes the postman, sanitation workers, dog walker, hairdresser, personal trainer, UPS/FedEx driver, and so on. Cash is king though gift cards are a nice alternative.

Here's a brief rundown of tipping suggestions:

  • Sanitation: The rule of thumb is usually $10 to 20 per person on the truck, but Leonard suggests $20 per person. "All of a sudden the 'unacceptable' garbage is gone!" she said.
  • Postman: $25 to $50 dollars. "Government employees are not allowed to accept cash gifts, but it is done, so no worries; just be discreet," she advised.
  • UPS: $20 plus. "If you don’t tip and they know what you can afford, by all those J. Crew and Pottery Barn packages that arrive on a weekly basis, only you come out looking like a Scrooge," she said. In this age of Amazon, they are handling a lot more of our packages, so factor that into your tip amount.
  • Housecleaner: An extra 20 percent if you have them come every month or more or one week’s pay.
  • Nanny: $50 to one month’s pay, plus a thank you gift from your children, depending on how many days per week you nanny is at your home.
  • Teenage Babysitter: $20 plus along with a small token of appreciation, if they babysit a three to five times a month.
  • Dog Walker: One week’s salary.
  • Super: Take into account whether or not you tip throughout the year for various tasks. If so, you can make small adjustments, but the suggested etiquette is between $50 to $200.
  • Bus Driver: $5 to $20 with a thank you note from your child.
  • Nail Salon: Extra 20 percent tip or $20 in cash, depending if you give the holiday tip when you are in for services.
  • Hairdresser: An extra 15 to 20 percent on top of the tip for that haircut. If you get your hair cut and colored on a regular basis, give the price of one haircut or color as a tip.
  • Caregivers/Teachers: Show the ones that care for those we love (children, elderly parents, sick relatives), how truly grateful you are for their dedication and service. It can be anything from $20 to hundreds, along with a handwritten thank you note.

Bottom line: Do what you can afford ... in the end any amount will be appreciated.

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