It is the time of year not only for spreading good tidings and joy, but also showing those from whom we get great service how much we appreciate their efforts. Tipping is but one way to do this.

Tipping Etiquette and Guides

The Emily Post Institute, named after the famed etiquette expert and columnist, points out that Holiday Tipping is Really Holiday Thanking:

"The holiday season is traditionally the time Americans choose to thank those who provide them with year-round services. In these tough economic times it's important to remember that holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you. With a little creativity you can accommodate everyone on your list this year without blowing your budget."

Indeed, the No. 1 rule on the institute's tipping guide is to remain within your personal budget.

According to most tipping lists, those in the running for receiving tips include:

  • Hairdressers
  • Doormen
  • Housekeepers
  • Postal workers (U.S. News reports that postal workers may receive up to $20 in cash as a holiday tip)
  • Garbage collectors
  • Childcare teachers and other personal caregivers (Check the policy on what employees can accept with the owner of establishment. And before giving your child's schoolteacher a tip, check with the district on their policy. Teachers may not be allowed to accept cash. Consider donating a needed book to the classroom, or having your child make a thank-you card.)
  • UPS and FedEx workers
  • Newspaper delivery people

Consider tipping a little extra those who are working especially hard during the holiday season. Restaurant servers and pizza delivery workers can be especially busy this time of year. If they are doing their best to make your mealtime as enjoyable, show them you appreciate their efforts.

Additional resources for holiday tipping include:

Good Gifts

Of course, you can always choose to give a small gift rather than tipping those who help you on a regular basis. Instead of doling out cash, consider giving small presents that can be appreciated by almost everyone:

  • Baked goods fudge, cookies, breads, or spiced nuts
  • A small basket of fresh fruit
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Gift card to a local coffee and tea shop
  • A simple flower arrangement

A Few More "Tips"

  • Make thanking others a family affair. Consider involving children in giving, baking, or writing thank-you notes to teachers, garbage collectors, and others from whose services you benefit. It helps reinforce a habit of demonstrating appreciation to others.
  • Do not be as concerned about a gift's monetary value as about being authentic in your gratitude. Most people appreciate a genuine display of thanks (such as a card or a phone call), as well as acknowledgment for a job well done.