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Holiday tipping cheat sheet

Filed Under: money, seasonal

Cash money, by Flickr user NicMcPhee.Holiday tipping is emphasized more in some areas than others: in the suburbs of Middle America, it can be relatively uncommon, while in some buildings in New York, it's required. Not tipping your doorman can be like slamming the door in his face.

The custom of holiday tipping may have begun because people in certain professions provide services that are worth far more than they're actually paid to perform them, and because people who work hard for lousy wages might need a little holiday financial help from grateful patrons. Either way, neglecting to tip the right people at this time of year can be a social disaster... but who are those people, and what should you give them?

Blueprint magazine has an article on their site (also published in their November/December issue, currently on news-stands): the Holiday Tip Sheet. It has etiquette advice and a printable chart (PDF) to help you figure out who (and how much) you should tip during the upcoming season, and who should receive a gift, either because they can't accept cash, can't accept gifts over a certain monetary value, or really deserve something more personal than money. Ideas for what to do when you're on a tight budget are also included.

With Blueprint's help, you'll have no problem showing the people who help you out how much you appreciate them.


  • Penny

    Hey! What about the HAIRSTYLIST! It's not easy making people look and feel good about themselves all the time. You have to "help" create their image from time to time. Some people never tip all year, so you would think an annual gift might be appropriate. And in most cases, this is a career with no insurance or retirement plans. Contrary to what you think, in most areas, this is not a high paying position. Penny

  • sharon

    Penny, you beat me to it! Being a stylist, I couldn't believe the list didn't include us! Every year I've seen lists like this and we are always on it. As I recall, it said you sould tip the equivilant to a service. Well, maybe this year!!!




  • Cindy

    I've always tipped my stylists at least 20% each time I go, but didn't realize until this article that the person washing my hair didn't get any of that. I thought it was like restaurant servers where a percentage of tips goes to the bartender and busboys, as they assist the server and help to increase their tips. It seems to me that hair washers serve in the same capacity and that for several reasons, from the logistics of our wallets when our hair is being washed to usually not knowing the name of the person, it would make good sense. I feel terrible that I've overlooked them for so long.

  • Kelly

    What's all the huff about? Hairstylists are listed, as they are every year.

  • Mary

    I agree with you, Penny. We should not forget our hairstylist. He/she is very important to our wellbeing. Personally, I like tipping my hairstylist each time I go to her. I find that she does a good job each time I make an appointment. She pretty much stick to her appointment time with me, because she knows that I do not like to be there all day. It really does make a difference when you tip.

  • betsy

    Why is it that SEAMSTRESS is never included on the list of people to tip? I do emergency work ie:" I'm going to a party tonight, can you alter this?" or "I just ripped my pants. Can you fix them?". I rarely say no. I just wish occassionly my regular customers would acknowledge a job well done. ( I have sewn professionally for 25+ years)

  • crazy rueben

    what about your local TRAILER PARTS((utility, stock/horse, boat, construction, jet ski: (any trailer pulled behind a pick-up truck/SUV,car,etc.)/parts & service personnel.) We help people out of jams--broke down in mid-america (i.e. Tulsa; Sand Springs, Oklahoma) but are poorly compensated and rarely, if ever are tipped, except the few thank yous here and there--which ARE greatly appreciated-but don't put food on the table or shoes for the kids--let alone ourselves!) Although, must admit, (&never forget) once, in ten years, rec'd a $100 bill for about a $20 job from a deer hunter on his way to opening day of season with his young son(& of course, camper, ATV four wheelers, etc. in tow) Never will forget that one. We do greatly appreciate anyone's business whether tipped or not, as that does put some meat with the taters come supper time. Just hard sometimes though to drive a$800 clunker, while the customer has new $40-50K one ton duelly, with thousands of $$ of toys(boats, ATV's, jet skis, campers, etc) in tow.. THANKS and have a great and Merry Christmas. (we don't try to be 'politically correct' in our business--so to those who don't observe Christmas--Happy Holidays to you and yours)!!!

  • Ms D

    I always leave a small gift (Gift certificate to a donut shop) for the Trash Collectors... especially if I have left a large Item to be hauled away....and I can alway be assured that my empty barrels are not left out in the street !!.....

  • turtleandsand

    i agree hair stylest should be on this list along with dog groomer this is the hardest time of year for both we earn that little something extra

  • Larry11215

    The whole tipping "obligation" is ridiculous. The employers are the ones who should be paying their employees, not the customers. Which is not to say that I don't tip; in fact, I am rather generous - I know what it means to live from paycheck to paycheck (and right now I am unemployed!) I just think the system is screwed up. Why should a waiter be paid a PERCENTAGE of the bill? The single mom who is working the night shift at the local diner works just as hard (or harder) for you than the movie-star wannabe who is your "server" at The Ritz... why should she get pocket change while he makes the big bucks?

  • turtleandsand

    beccause i rely on tips i over tip and think i even tip people who dont usually get tips ..... and i disagree with it being the employer who should pay more so we dont get tips a tip is a thank you for a service that you provide...i would like a bigger check to hehe

  • B Sanch

    Hairstylists want more tips?? they get tipped generously when the job is done. They get paid fine and the greedy things want more??? Give me a break. Christmas tips are for people that deserve and need tips - how about that newspaper boy - he doesn't get a tip everytime he delivers the paper.

  • Penny Fowler

    I guess you didn't notice that I said "some" people never tip the stylist. And, I'm in Indiana where tips are minimal. You do a lot of extra "working someone in for something not scheduled" at holiday time. Like a party that originally they were not attending, but changed their mind. How about the missed appointments throughout the year. That cost the stylist money. Oh, what about making and canceling 3 appointments before showing up on the 4th. Maybe you have to be a stylist like myself and Sharon before you get this. And about us "Greedy" little things; Stylist are some of the most generous people I know. When I eat out, if it's a lower price type restaurant, I still tip as I would at the higher price establishment. I appreciate the tips I get, and I pass them on. I am far from "Greedy". And after 32 yrs. in the same field, and making less than $35,000 annually, I think most people should tip for the out -of-the-way things I do for them. I give up a lot of my life so that they can look good in whatever they need for their life at the time! We are also not just hairstylist, but counselors, doctors, lawyers, etc. We deal with their childrens problems, broken relationships and such. And don't tell me to find a new job if I don't like this one. I love my job. That's what I'm trying to tell you. It would be great if we could do our job, but all those other "help me out" things enter into it, and I think for that a tip would be nice. Penny

  • eonzaway

    We eat out during the holidays and leave an extra $20 to our server. It's a family tradition. Sometimes we leave a note with it so the server doesn't think it's a mistake they were tipped so much just for coffees. We've been thanked profusely each time.

  • crazy rueben

    To all of you out in this wonderful world--We are not begging for charity or any thing like that, but as a small business owner whom is barely able to work due to a devasting back injury(which is getting worse as time goes on-injury suffered about 3 1/2 years ago & unable to get compensated even for medical bills), in fact going back into hospitol nest week--Christmas or even survival is not going to be much if at all this year, we humbly and respectively(don't want to , but have to) ask for any help we can get, down to food,etc.--Have not yet asked for food stamps, but probably have to. Any help we can get would be greatly appreciated and distributed among the one to two workers--Even a Thanks or Christmas/Holiday card would touch our hearts greatly and help to carry on. This is for real and is not a scam-so hope putting this on doesn't get blog deleted from AOL. Have never done anything like this before. Thanks everyone and may God bless and wish everyone a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays. you may contact me by E-mail at if you would like our address and could help or just to chat.Hopefully won't be in hospitol long. Thanks!!

  • danepane1


  • Brandon

    Way to go Penny. Until you've walked a mile in our shoes.

  • paris

    What about the HOOKERS? We desrve a BIG TIP!

  • maggie

    Yes I too think employer's should pay there employee's what they deserve ,BUT THEY DON'T. My family relyes on tip to make it ,My husband is a pizza delivery man and if not for tip's we would be living off the state. I work for a delivery service and only get paid per mile and stop and sometimes we deserve a tip also (try carring a 35 lb. box up 2 flites of stairs for .32 cents a mile and 2.25 a stop) So please remember tip when YOU think it's needed not when a list say's you should !


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