The Do's & Don'ts of Holiday Tipping

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

• Love for Fido: 14% are tipping dog walkers, cat sitters and other pet care providers

• No cash needed: 77% use gift cards/certificates as tips and often receive rewards and incentives for doing so

• Get cooking: 45% will gift homemade food

Who's Tipping this Holiday season:

• 70% of people plan to tip this season

• 60% plan to tip the same amount as last year but 18% will tip more generously than in 2014

• 30% tip in cash only; 60% prefer a mix of cash and physical gifts

• 77% use gift cards/certificates as holiday tips (up from 45% in 2014!)

Why People do and do not tip:

Why people DO tip: 85% tip to say thank you for a job well done; 21% tip because it is expected

Why people DO NOT tip: 41% cannot afford holiday tips; 29% forget to tip; 34% believe holiday tips are not necessary


Do Have a Tipping Action Plan: Be like the 41% of parents surveyed and budget for holiday tips. Decide how much money you can use for tips in total. Then make a list of the number of people you’d like tip this year and simply divvy it up.  Be honest with yourself and don’t exceed your budget.

Do Make Things Personal: Include a hand-written, sincere thank you. Share something specific they did this year for you or your family that made a difference in your life.

Do Keep a Tipping Diary: Each year, keep a list of those you tipped and how much.  You don’t have to do the same thing every year, but it helps to have a gauge.  Keeping a diary will also help you avoid missing anyone important!

Do Have a Tipping Timeline: According to our survey, close to half of families (46%) share their holiday tips in early December.  If you know your budget is going to be especially tight in December, start setting aside money earlier in the season. Some families (5%) save holiday tipping for the New Year, but try and remember that some professionals rely on holiday tips for their own holiday budgets.

Do Remember it’s Not One Size Fits All: Different families, different priorities, different budgets.  Prioritize the people most important in your life and see how far your budget takes you. Be comfortable making small adjustments to make the budget work.

Do Get Creative and Mix Things Up: Cash may be preferred, but it is not the only way to say thank you. 57% of parents surveyed said they have felt guilty about not giving someone a holiday tip.  Avoid the guilt, think about each person, and get creative with your budget.  Consider gift cards – many offer reward programs for buyers—and handmade gifts.  And get the kids involved with cards, holiday arts and crafts, and baked goods!

Don’t Exceed What You Can Afford: Tipping is important, but it’s not something that should put you in debt.  Give what you can and no more. Remember that running up your credit card bill to account for tips means that you’ll be paying more over a longer period of time.

Don’t Feel Like a Grinch: Can’t afford to exceed what you gave your doorman last year? You’re not a holiday scrooge. Add a thoughtful hand-written thank you in your card this year (and every year for that matter!) and a add box of from scratch cookies to show much you appreciate his hard work.

Don’t Re-gift, Unless…: Re-gifting is generally taboo, but there are exceptions.  Not a coffee drinker and find yourself with a $20 Starbucks gift card? There is no crime in giving it to your latte-loving babysitter as a special holiday thank you.

Don’t Forget What Holiday Tipping is all About: Holiday tipping is part of the holiday spirit and is meant to show appreciation for a job well done.  While cash is definitely the most popular tip to receive, those important people in your life will be grateful for the recognition for their hard work.

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