2017 Holiday Tipping and Gift Guide: What to give your boss, hair stylist, babysitter and more!


The holiday season is a time when many people will give a tip or gift to the service providers who made their life easier throughout the year.

But who gets a Christmas tip and who can you skip? We reached out to an expert for some advice!

RELATED: Do NOT buy these gift cards this holiday season

Holiday tipping: Who to tip and who to skip

Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Texas, told Clark.com that you should start by looking at your personal budget.

If money is tight, Gottsman says prioritize based on the service providers who mean the most to you.

“Your budget is first priority when deciding who — and how much — you should tip this holiday season. Next, think about the service the person provides throughout the year and the frequency of your visits.”

There are no mandatory rules for holiday tipping. The following suggestions are simply guidelines, but your tip or gift may vary. It all depends on your relationship with the person.

So let’s get right to Gottsman’s tips about tipping for the 2017 holiday season!


Boss: Don’t give your boss money, an expensive or overly personal gift. Consider bringing in baked goods or a small token of appreciation. The best choice is to start a gift pool and collect money from colleagues who want to contribute toward a group gift.

Office Assistant: If a bonus isn’t on the radar, give a gift card or gift that you are confident your assistant will enjoy. The cost of the gift will be based on relationship and tenure.


Coworker: Give something that the person collects or enjoys, like fun office products, a coffee mug, flavored instant coffee or an inspirational desk calendar.

Client: Check the corporate gift giving policy before delivering a holiday gift. When appropriate, give something enjoyable that doesn’t have a logo, such as a gift basket of gourmet foods.

Secret Santa: Stick to the agreed upon dollar amount. Everyone in the office should participate unless there are religious or cultural reasons.


  • Teacher: Class gift or gift card
  • Multiple Teachers Per Grade Level: Small gift card to each (coffee shop for example), baked goods or class gift pool
  • School Secretary: Small gift or gift card
  • School Nurse: Small gift or gift card
  • Principal: Home baked goods and a greeting card
  • Bus Driver: $25 each
  • School Lunch Provider: $25 each

Home and apartment

  • Doorman: $20 to $100 each (more if they provide heavily for you during the year)
  • Handyman: $20 to $100
  • Landlord or Building Manager:  $50 and up, depending on their level of support
  • Daily/Weekly Housekeeper: Equivalent to one day’s (or week’s) service
  • Newspaper Delivery: $10 to $30
  • Pool Cleaner and Lawn Maintenance: Equivalent to one week’s service
  • Trash Collector: $10 to $25 per person (check local regulations for public service employees)


Babysitter tipping for the holidays

  • Babysitter: Cash equivalent to one night’s pay or a gift card
  • Nanny: One week’s (to one month’s) pay and a gift from your child
  • Hair Stylist, Manicurist, Personal Trainer and Massage Therapist: Tip or gift card equivalent to
    one visit
  • Shampoo Attendant: $5 to $10
  • Pet Groomer: Cash gift equivalent to one service
  • Dog Walker: Cash gift equivalent to one day (or one week’s) service
  • Dance Instructor, Tutor, Coach: $25 or gift card to favorite coffee shop
  • Food Delivery: 18% to 20%

Mail and package delivery

  • UPS: Employees may accept small gift or nominal gratuity
  • FedEx: Employees may accept gift valued up to $75, no cash or gift cards (FedEx policy)
  • USPS: Employees may accept gift valued up to $20, no cash or cash equivalents  (USPS policy)

Who you can skip

Gottsman says there’s no reason to tip your doctor, dentist, lawyer, dry cleaner, tailor and cable or IT professional — but you could always bring them a tray of cookies to show your appreciation.

Follow this link to read Gottsman’s complete holiday tipping guide on her website.

Final thought about gift cards… 

Although Gottsman lists gift cards as an option for many service providers, money expert Clark Howard says people should avoid buying retail and restaurant gift cards this holiday season.


After retailers closed more than 5,000 stores in 2017, Clark says it’s just too risky to buy gift cards at this time.

“Giving a gift that is useful such as sending a box of grapefruit or a bottle of specialty olive oil would be a better option,” Gottsman told Clark.com. “The bottom line is to always keep in mind the person you are gifting.”

What are your thoughts about tipping for the holidays? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

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