Holiday Tips and Gratuities

It’s the season of giving, and yes, that means dipping a little further into your pocket, but it’s that feel-good-sacrifice. You have your standard gratuities that you already expect to give: Waiter/waitress, bar tender, food delivery, stylists, but who else should get a little something, and what exactly is appropriate? Holiday etiquette can get a little hairy, and it’s confusing to whom, and how much, we should be offering.

I have created a list of the services and/or people you may forget about during the holidays (but shouldn’t), with some appropriate gift suggestions.

  1. Your postal worker. As the inscription reads on James Farley Post Office in New York City states: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” And so, it’s a kind an appropriate gesture to offer a gift to the person who brings your awesome Candle Moments orders.  Appropriate gifts include: ChocolatesWine, Gift Card, Coffee.
  2. Your child’s teacher(s). If your child is in grade school, one nice gift to the teacher is a wonderful gesture. If your child is in middle or high school, there are many teachers – you don’t need to buy a gift for every teacher, but a small gesture such as a card is always appreciated. If your child has a teacher who was particularly helpful, or whom he/she loved, then a gift is a great idea.  Appropriate gifts include: Starbucks Gift Cards ($10 is a perfect amount), Candles, Mugs, Chocolates.
  3. Your newspaper delivery person. More likely than not, your newspaper delivery person is incurring more expenses than you believe – such as a bag to keep your paper dry during the rain, and rubber-bands. Cash is the best option here. The rule of thumb is $10 for weekend delivery, $20 for daily delivery, and $25 for long-standing delivery (4+ years).
  4. The secretary at your job. He/she is usually pivotal in making everything run smoothly in the background; a little gratitude goes a long way. As for gifts – see #2, teachers.
  5. The secretary at your doctor’s office.  This applies if he/she squeezes you in, or seems to make the whole process easier for you – otherwise, there’s no obligation there. Same as #2 and #4.
  6. Your child’s babysitter. Gifts should be level with age of the babysitter, and how much he/she does for you. Cash is appropriate here, and should range in the ballpark of hourly wage. Equivalent of 2 hours for sitters who are 19 and younger, 3 hours for older sitters, and more if the person goes out of his/her way, or has been with you for many years.
  7. Your housekeeper. This should really be a given, and again, is dependent upon several factors: Job well done, length of service, level of trust. Cash is appropriate here, too, and should go between 1/2 day to 1 day of service.
  8. Your job’s custodian. If this person works hard to keep your space clean, it’s a great gesture to give a little something. A bottle of wine is perfect.

Remember, gifts don’t need to be extravagant to leave a lasting impact; when it comes to the extras, it really is the gesture that matters. When considering who to buy gifts for, think about anyone who has provided astounding service, or who has truly made life a little easier for you to live.

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