Holiday gifting and tipping is very personal, not required and should be determined by what you can afford. Start with a budget and a list prioritizing those service professionals who most impact your daily life. Remember that gratitude can be shown in many different ways. Don’t rule out the power of a homemade gesture and kind words. No matter what you decide—cookies or cash—take the time to write brief but heartfelt notes. Here, some holiday tip guidelines and gift- giving suggestions based on feedback from Greenwich area service providers, residents and The Emily Post Institute.
Nannies, Housekeepers, Drivers, Cooks
One to three weeks’ pay based on length of service, plus a small personal gift.
Regular Babysitters, Housecleaners
The equivalent of one night out or one week’s cleaning fee.
Newspaper, Dry Cleaning, Package and Grocery Delivery
$25 to $50
Newspaper delivery personnel usually provide a card with their address; for all others, keep signed notes and tips at your door to give out personally as groceries, packages and dry cleaning arrive.
Tutors, Dog Walkers, Pet Groomers, Personal Trainers
The cost of half to one full session.
As government employees, they are prohibited from accepting gifts greater than $20, but if your longtime carrier is depositing Amazon Prime boxes on your porch daily, use your own discretion.
$50 to $100
Ideally, you give the gift directly to your garbage collector (yes, that may mean getting up very early one morning). Avoid leaving cash gifts taped to the inside of a garbage can in your driveway where it could be stolen.
Members typically contribute to a holiday fund from which tips are given to the staff. Additionally, tipping specific tennis pros, caddies and other staff is appreciated yet not expected.
Manicurists, Hairstylists, Barbers, Waxers, Massage Therapists
These are services where clients traditionally leave a gratuity year-round so holiday tipping varies from a larger than usual December tip to the cost of one appointment.
Gifts are customarily coordinated by a class parent, with each family given the opportunity to contribute. Public and some private schools provide a cap to the gift amount. Public school teachers are government employees, so gifts are limited. No matter how well intended, most teachers have enough mugs, ties and frames to last a lifetime and welcome gift cards that can be used for books, office, art and school supplies.
Counselors, advisors and those in the front office who work closely with you or your child appreciate the recognition, whether it’s a plate of cookies or a bottle of good olive oil.
Some private-school parents contribute $50 toward a gift for the private-service bus driver. Public school bus drivers do not routinely receive gifts, but if Henry is habitually scrambling to catch the waiting bus, now might be an opportunity to say thank you.
Coaches, Chorus and Theater Directors and other activity advisors
A team manager or club parent typically arranges parent contributions for a season-end or year-end gift, but the holidays are a great time to recognize those adults who helped make this year special for your child.
The Forgottten (it happens)
Consider keeping a few extra signed cards containing $10 to $20 in your foyer for any last minute surprises who may appear on your December doorstep.