How Much to Tip During the Holidays

From caring for your child to tending to your weeds, several people may be a part of your life that deserve a little extra something during the holidays. But how much? And should it be cash or can it be a gift? Breezy Mama turned to a favorite Go-to etiquette expert, Diane Gottsman, to get her answers on how much to tip during the holidays.

How much do you tip a housekeeper during the holidays?

The cost equivalent of one week’s pay, plus a gift if he/she has been with your family for years.

How much do you tip a babysitter during the holidays?

One nights wages and a cute note from the child.

How much do you tip a nanny during the holidays?

One weeks wages and a gift from the family or child/ren (Nannies often become part of the family!). If one week is too much, do what you can afford (that applies to everyone on here!).

How much do you tip a gardener during the holidays?

If he is occasional, a tin of cookies or home baked goods. If he is weekly, one weeks wages.

How much do you tip a favorite waiter during the holidays?

If he/she has given you good service throughout the year, anywhere from $25 to $100.00, depending on the restaurant, the relationship and the quality of service he/she provides

How much do you tip a preschool teacher during the holidays?

A gift card to a favorite store or coffee shop or a little gift from your child.

How much do you tip a favorite coffee shop server during the holidays?

$20.00 upwards.

How much do you tip a hair stylist during the holidays?

If you see your hairstylist or colorist frequently, equivalent of one service, or whatever you can comfortably afford.

How much do you tip a manicurist during the holidays?

Cost of one service. Again it depends how often you go, and if you visit the same person each visit.

How much do you tip an elementary school teacher during the holidays?

Some schools pool their money together as a classroom and get a class gift. Check the policy first, then gift accordingly. Always send a heartfelt note from your child or yourself.

How much do you tip your mailman during the holidays?

United states Post Office and Fed Ex workers aren’t allowed to accept cash or gift cards. Go with a small gift, less than $20 dollars or home baked goods.

Anyone Breezy Mama has forgotten?

Building Staff:  Including handymen, depending on how much you’ve used them during the past year — $20-$100.

Dog Walker: One Week’s Pay/ The cost of one weeks service and a special dog treat (a cute inexpensive gift) from the pampered pooch.

Massage therapist: Cost of One Session. Depends how often you go, and if you visit the same person.

Newspaper Carrier: $25 — Depends on how many days the paper is delivered – anything from 10 to 25.00, and/or a small gift.

 Nurses: NO tipping for medical professionals. A private home nurse, working for an agency may not be able to accept a monetary gift – check with the agency first to find out guidelines.

A private caregiver, not with any agency: Equivalent to one week’s pay.

Nursing home staff – something that everyone can share and enjoy such as fudge, cupcakes, lunch items, etc. so you are not favoring one attendant over the other.

Personal Trainer: Cost of One Session. If you’ve worked with a trainer regularly for at least six months, cost of one session.

Teacher: Gift card to a mega store or to a favorite restaurant or coffee shop. Always accompany any gift with a handwritten note from your child.

Trash collectors: If they work a private company they can collect a tip, $10 to $20.00 each, but a trash collector, working for a public service company falls under different rules. Check with the government office to find out their restrictions as most do not allow their employees to accept tips.

On any of the above, is a gift okay or who should specifically be given cash?

The bottom line is that the giver must decide what is most comfortable and what works within their individual budget. The above is just a loose guideline and what determines the gift or tip is the ability to give comfortably without hurting the family budget.

Also, who are some often overlooked people that should receive a tip specifically during the holidays and how much?

During holiday travel, the hotel housekeeper is often overlooked because we seldom see them. The school cafeteria lady is another one that is overlooked, not that it is necessary for everyone to tip her but if your child has a particular allergy (i.e. peanuts) that she is diligent to ensure the food is not cross contaminated and prepared properly, she’d be first on my list. The janitor at school may be someone that performs special services like driving the school bus or helping with field trips and is often overlooked, as well.

Anything else you’d like to share about tipping during the holidays?

I can’t emphasize enough that a holiday tip or gift should not be a mandatory burden. You tip or gift based on the relationship you enjoy with the person, the loyalty you have received throughout the year and your personal budget, your ability to give without sacrificing your own family’s needs.

Here’s a great tip: Subscribe to the Breezy Mama newsletter — it’s free! Enter your email address here:

Diane Gottsman About Diane Gottsman:

Diane Gottsman is a nationally recognized etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in corporate etiquette training. Diane is also the author of Pearls of Polish, an etiquette guide for today’s busy woman. Her smart, cosmopolitan approach is peppered with humor and leaves her audience wanting more. From properly setting a table to mixing and mingling with aplomb, Diane is considered the “go to” etiquette expert for corporate etiquette topics. “The key,” says Diane, “is to put others at ease while presenting

oneself in a perfectly polished manner.”

Diane is a sought after industry expert who is regularly featured on several morning television shows and has been quoted in national publications such as The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Glamour, NPR and the Chicago Tribune, to name only a few. Diane’s website was recently named by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Websites for Women.

Diane can be reached at: or 877-490-1077.

Let's Get Social!


  1. We use a daycare center. I have 2 children in separate classrooms. There has been a lot of turn-over this year and staff rotating. There are 2 main teachers but helpers as well. Please help me to know who to give gifts to and what is proper to give. Or what would be a good group gift for the whole room from our children?
    Thank you!

  2. Hi Alli,
    We have a lot of great teacher gift ideas on this post:

    Hope that helps!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.