PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Christmas is just a few days away and the last-minute shoppers probably haven’t even started yet.
For those of you who think you’re done, or just about, did you remember everyone?
Most people buy gifts for family and close friends, but there are a lot of other people in our lives who also deserve a little something extra at the holidays.
People like your mail carrier, hair stylist or babysitter.
But, what is appropriate?
“The thing people need to keep in mind about tipping is it’s a matter of gratitude and thankfulness,” Dr. Audrey Guskey said.
So, who exactly should we be tipping?
“You should tip people who take care of you, personally, your dependents – your children, elderly parents, pets and people who take care of your home and your stuff,” Guskey said.
Let’s start at home.
First, your mail carrier. You have to be careful what you give postal employees because the government has rules about gifts for them.
“When you’re dealing with a mail person, you want to make sure that you don’t give them money and so a gift under $20 would probably be appropriate,” Guskey said.
Next up: garbage collectors.
“Garbage men, garbage people, you want to make sure you tip them maybe $10-$15 type of an item,” Guskey said.
But, how many of us ever really see our garbage collectors to give them a gift?
“What I usually do is I put it on top of the garbage can, on top of the lid, wrapped nicely and with, ‘To the garbage collectors,’ so that way they know it’s for them,” Guskey said.
Do you have someone who cleans your house for you?
“You want to tip them about one cleaning service,” Guskey said.
The same thing goes for babysitters. Tip them what you’d pay them for one night of watching your kids.
Now, to the people who help make us look good, like your trainer or yoga instructor.
“You may want to give them some kind of a gift. Maybe something appropriate. So, if it’s a yoga instructor, aroma is very important. So, maybe some lilac lotion or something like that,” Guskey said.
And your hair stylist?
“A box of candy or bottle of wine or something like that may be very appropriate for them,” Guskey said.
In fact, a holiday tip for anyone doesn’t have to be cash.
“Now, a lot of people are on very tight budgets and maybe don’t have a lot of money and so you can always make handmade things,” Guskey said.
Cookies or a cake could be appropriate.
You can also split the difference by giving something you’ve made along with a smaller amount of cash or a gift card.
What about your kids’ teachers?
“You want to include your children in the tipping as well. So, maybe bring your child into the store as you’re buying a little gift for the teacher and talk about how important it is to show thankfulness to other people,” Guskey said.
So is there anyone you shouldn’t tip?
“You should not tip people who are professionals – doctors, dentists – people who are providing you a particular service, maybe your financial planner – because that’s not appropriate,” Guskey said.
Lastly, there is a little bit of etiquette on how to present a holiday tip. You can’t just hand someone some cash and say, this is for you.
“Yu want to put it in a nice envelope, make sure you have hand-written note – a sentence or two describing how appreciative you are for the whole year that they’ve been with you,” Guskey said.
And, if you can, hand it to them in person.
Now, we know this is a lot to keep track of. So, Guskey recommends maybe making a spreadsheet or at least a list.
That way, you’ll know from year to year who to tip and how much to budget, so you’re not hit with it all at once.
Research shows nearly 70 percent of people do tip during the holidays with men typically tipping more people and giving bigger tips than women.