Tipping for the holidays: Who and how much?

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Do you consider yourself a good tipper? Most of us would like to think that we are, but it’s easy to get confused about who gets a tip and how much.

We consulted national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman for some advice.

Gottsman says, ‘Those in the service industry rely on tips as a good part of their income. It’s a respectful gesture to tip for good service.’

Read more: How often do you tip your Starbucks barista?

Below, you’ll find a list of Gottsman’s top tips about tipping:

Restaurant server

18% to 20% is an appropriate gratuity. For smaller food bills, consider setting a minimum tip amount of $4 to $5. If the gratuity is already included, don’t feel obligated to tip extra.

Food service attendant

You know those eateries where there aren’t servers, but there are people around to help if you need anything? Leave a couple bucks if they assist you.


Spare change won’t cut it. $1 to $2 per drink is acceptable to ensure you won’t be left waiting for your next round.


$2 to $5 when receiving your car.

Hotel bellman

$1 to $2 per bag is just fine. If you’re packing light, considering leaving the bellman $5 for his effort.

Hotel housekeeper

$3 to $5 per day or $1 per person staying in the room. Don’t wait until the end of your stay to leave a gratuity. Tip daily because housekeeping staff can change.


Taxi driver

15% to 20% is standard.

Restroom attendant

Have you ever been caught off-guard by a person in the restroom providing fresh towels, hair spray, or gum? They’re working for tips and $1 or $2 is appropriate.

Hair stylist

Show your stylist you appreciate your fresh cut by leaving a 15% to 20% tip. Give the shampoo person $2 or $3.

Spa service provider

If gratuities are allowed at your spa, leave manicurists, estheticians, and massage therapists 15% to 20% of your bill.

To get another perspective, you might also check out this article from Kiplinger. Here are their recommendations:

Mail carrier

Mail carriers can’t accept cash, according to USPS regulations. Consider a gift card of $20 instead.

Childcare provider

Consider a week’s pay as a tip, along with a small gift from your child.

Your child’s teacher

A small gift from your child, such as a handwritten note or a picture, is perfect. You might also consider pooling money together with other parents to get a small gift card.

Trash collector

$10 to $30 is appropriate, placed in an envelope.

Regular cleaning person

Be good to the person who scrubs your bathtub! Consider tipping the cost of one visit.

Dog groomer

An appropriate tip is up to the full cost of a visit.


Personal caregiver for an elderly person

The people who care for your elderly loved ones deserve to be tipped well. A good tip is equal to anywhere from one week to one month of pay.

Personal trainer

Consider tipping the cost of one session.

Building handyman

An appropriate tip is considered $20 to $100.


$20 to $50 per person is standard.


Keep in mind, this is the advice of only one or two experts. Consider sharing this list with the service industry professionals you know to see how they feel about tipping practices. In the meantime, keep those dollar bills handy for your next tip!

Read more: Etiquette expert reveals the new normal for tipping

Want more money-saving advice for your wallet? See our Money section.


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