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What To Tip For The Holidays? Westchester Expert Offers Advice

Mamaroneck resident and etiquette expert Melissa Leonard offers advice on holiday tipping.
Mamaroneck resident and etiquette expert Melissa Leonard offers advice on holiday tipping. Photo Credit: Melissa Leonard

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Finding the right holiday gift for friends and family can be stressful. Just as taxing: Figuring out who -- and what -- to tip.

According to Melissa Leonard, an etiquette and protocol expert and the owner of Mamaroneck-based EstablishYourselfNY.com , anyone who provides a service should be tipped. That includes the postman, sanitation workers, dog walker, hairdresser, personal trainer, UPS/FedEx driver, and so on. Cash is king though gift cards are a nice alternative.

Here's a brief rundown of tipping suggestions:

  • Sanitation: The rule of thumb is usually $10 to 20 per person on the truck, but Leonard suggests $20 per person. "All of a sudden the 'unacceptable' garbage is gone!" she said.
  • Postman : $25 to $50 dollars. "Government employees are not allowed to accept cash gifts, but it is done, so no worries; just be discreet," she advised.
  • UPS: $20 plus. "If you don’t tip and they know what you can afford, by all those J. Crew and Pottery Barn packages that arrive on a weekly basis, only you come out looking like a Scrooge," she said.
  • Housecleaner : An extra 20 percent if you have them come every month or more or one week’s pay.
  • Nanny: $50 to one month’s pay, plus a thank you gift from your children.
  • Babysitter: $20 plus along with a small token of appreciation, if they babysit a three to five times a month.
  • Dog Walker: One week’s salary.
  • Super: Take into account whether or not you tip throughout the year for various tasks. If so, you can make small adjustments, but the suggested etiquette is between $50 to $200.
  • Bus Driver: $5 to $20 with a thank you note from your child.
  • Nail Salon: Extra 20 percent tip or $20 in cash, depending if you give the holiday tip when you are in for services.
  • Hairdresser: An extra 15 to 20 percent on top of the tip for that haircut. If you get your hair cut and colored on a regular basis, give the price of one haircut or color as a tip.
  • Caregivers/Teachers: Show the ones that care for those we love (children, elderly parents, sick relatives), how truly grateful you are for their dedication and service. It can be anything from $20 to hundreds, along with a handwritten thank you note.

Bottom line: Do what you can afford ... in the end any amount will be appreciated.

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