You are likely planning to give your family and friends a little more love this time of year. But what about your dog walker or babysitter? If you haven’t already, consider showing appreciation to your service providers with a gift or reward.
After all, now is the time to say «thank you» and wish people all the best for the next year, «said Lizzie Post, who hosts the Awesome Etiquette podcast and lives in Burlington, Vermont.
The friendly atmosphere around giving and Tilt is clear, but the details can be confusing. How much do you give and to whom? And what if the idea of spending more money on the holidays turns your insides into eggnog?
You will find answers to these questions below. However, let’s discuss the timing first. There’s no need to have your tips, gifts, and notes delivered by Christmas, and it’s okay if you missed Hanukkah or chasing after Kwanzaa. Shoot around the new year for some time.
Who should receive gifts or additional benefits?
Show your generosity to vendors you see regularly – at least four or five times a year, says Crystal L. Bailey, director of The Etiquette Institute of Washington (in DC).
These are typically people «with whom you have developed a closer professional relationship and whose services you value,» she adds.
So if you’re getting your hair cut by someone who is available and who doesn’t know their name, don’t worry about a gift or extra indulgence. But if you are a regular customer of a particular one Barber, and they know exactly how to do it. Consider showing generosity at the end of the year.
Gifts or tips may also be suitable for child carers, teachers, housekeepers, personal trainers, and dog walkers. «This list will be a little different for everyone,» says Post.
So think about who has helped you on a regular basis – like the apartment great when they had to unlock your door several times.
Who gets tips and how much?
Tip people you pay directly. For example, let’s say you typically give cash to a provider or pay electronically with a card swipe or an app like Venmo or PayPal. Bailey says it’s okay to use the same payment methods to give them a big year-end tip.
How much to tip depends on your finances and what you are happy to give. Bailey suggests tipping no more than a single service. If your massage costs $ 75 every other month, she’ll say, «I would tip them $ 25, $ 50, or up to $ 75.» Or, she says, double your typical tip.
No matter how much you give, you put this money on a card, «with a token of your gratitude,» says Post.
Who gets presents and which ones?
Gifts and gift cards are better for vendors who don’t pay directly. For example, you wouldn’t give cash to your child’s teacher, but Bailey says a gift card would be fine. For extra credit, you can take a gift card to a nearby cafe or restaurant, adds it, which makes the gesture more personal and supports a local business.
Consumables can also make great gifts, according to Bailey and Post. A plate with biscuits, for example, is particularly suitable as a shared group or employee gift. If you are making these cookies yourself, Post suggest adding a list of ingredients or common allergens like nuts.
Avoid gifts that take up a lot of space, Bailey says, as well as personal items like clothing or fragrances.
What if I can’t afford tips and gifts?
All the generosity at the end of the year shouldn’t break you budget, Post says. And while these tips and gifts are common, she says, «they’re not guaranteed bonuses.»
If it’s stressful (or not feasible) to give all of this money, Post suggests that you «take a deep breath and think about your own life and what works for you.»
You may not be giving tips or gifts this year. Or maybe you only give a few providers. In this case, «prioritize who was really invaluable to you this year,» says Post.
Words can go a long way too, she adds. Always write a note whether you are tipping someone or not. If you usually tip a big year-end but can’t afford it this year, Post suggests adding a quick note on the note. Otherwise, your provider may wonder if they did something wrong.
For the rest of the note, Post says, don’t think too much about it. Thank you to the providers for their great service, she says and wishes them all the best for the coming year.
This article was written by NerdWallet and originally published by The Associated Press.