Tips for the Tipper: Holiday Tipping Guide

Holiday Tipping Guide from The Champagne Supernova

The holidays are expensive and busy. Between ordering gifts for the family, sending out Christmas cards, and attending parties, I’m whooped by December 26.


In the past, the hustle and bustle of having a crazy calendar have caused me to forget to do important things.

RSVP to a get-together. Attend a previously scheduled hair appointment (yikes!). Keep my New Year’s resolution (from January) of staying the heck away from the cheese trays and chocolate desserts at holiday parties. Hello, elastic waist band!

Tipping service providers.

Not again, I say!

People have different opinions about the appropriate amount of a tip. Some say it depends on the number of years of service. Some say it depends on the nature of the service. Some say it depends on the frequency of which the service provider receives tips throughout the year.

I researched the topic on,, and CNN. While these sites were generally on the same page regarding how much or what to tip, I averaged the rules together and came up with this list.

Regular Babysitter: Up to one night’s pay and a small gift from your children.

Full Time Nanny: Up to one week’s pay and a small gift from your children.

Day Care Provider: First confirm whether the day care facility has a policy regarding holiday tipping or gift giving. If there is none, consider giving $25 – $70 and a small gift from your children. The same applies to a regular teacher.

Cleaning Lady: Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a comparably priced gift.

Personal Trainer: Up to the cost of one session or a comparably priced gift.

Pet Groomer: Up to the cost of one session or a comparably priced gift.

Dog Walker: Up to one week’s pay or a comparably priced gift.

Parking Garage Attendants: $10- $30 or a small gift. (I think Starbucks gift cards or lottery scratch-off tickets are always a win!)

Mail Carriers: This is tricky, as the United States Postal Service has strict rules about what mail carriers can accept during the holidays: 1) Snacks/ beverages/ perishable gifts that are not part of a meal, 2) Small gifts with little value that do not exceed $20, and 3) Perishable items worth more than $20 (e.g., fancy fruit baskets) must be shared with the entire postal branch.

Mail carriers cannot accept cash, checks, gift cards, or any type of currency.

Who knew?

Gift Wrapper: $1 to $2 per package, not to exceed $10.

Picture of Rapper 50 Cent in a Holiday Tipping Guide on The Champagne Supernova

Not THIS type of wrapper, silly!

Trash and Recycling Collectors: $10- $30 per person for private service providers. If the service is public, check with your local municipality for rules because some areas may not permit tipping.

Landscaping/ Yard Worker: $20- $50 per person. If the person comes regularly, you can give up to one week’s pay.

Swimming Pool Cleaner: Up to the cost of one cleaning to be divided among the cleaning employees. If a different person shows up at each cleaning, a tip is unnecessary. Our swimming pool cleaner does such a good job. Recently, he has even recommended that we invest in a robot pool cleaner to take care of some of the more hard to reach places. We found some reviews of a few different robot pool cleaners online by visiting the Pool Cleaner IO website so we are definitely tempted to give one a go. Watch this space!

Newspaper Deliverer: $10- $30, or the equivalent of one month the subscription price.

Hairdresser: $20 to $100, depending on the frequency you see this person. Me: every six months, for shame.

(Looking for tips on how to streamline your morning hair routine? Click here.)

Workplace Assistant: In addition to a year end bonus your company provides, include a gift that values at least $50. Of course, this depends on your position (read: minions pay less than slave drivers) and the length of time the person has been your assistant.

Boss: It’s unnecessary, but a nice gesture. Ask co-workers to see if they’d like to chip in for a restaurant gift certificate.



    12 Comments on Tips for the Tipper: Holiday Tipping Guide

    1. Denay DeGuzman
      December 18, 2015 at 10:51 am (7 years ago)

      What a wonderful Holiday Tipping Guide! I had just been researching this very same topic, and your list is tight on spot! For my cleaning lady who comes twice a month, I gift her an amount equal to one day’s cleaning.

      • jenniferdaku
        December 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm (7 years ago)

        Our lady comes twice a month as well (I wish my budget would permit her to come once a week… sigh!) Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful Christmas! xo

    2. Hil
      December 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm (7 years ago)

      Wow I do NOT tip the majority of the people on that list. My cleaning lady must think I am super cheap. Ooops! Should have read this this morning before I paid her!

      I would love it if you came to link up at our party tonight:

      It’s a link party and pin-up party, two parties in one! All posts will get pinned to our group pinterest board.

      • jenniferdaku
        December 19, 2015 at 9:49 pm (7 years ago)

        Girlfriend. I didn’t know most of these tips were customary until I started researching the topic for this post. Oops! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and thanks for stopping by the blog! xo

    3. Frugal Mom of 8
      December 17, 2015 at 12:59 pm (7 years ago)

      This is such a tricky thing. This list is really helpful!

      • jenniferdaku
        December 19, 2015 at 9:50 pm (7 years ago)

        Agreed. Especially because I think most people don’t KNOW they are supposed to tip these service people, so it really isn’t a matter of being frugal. Thanks for stopping by the blog, and Cheers! xo

    4. Willow
      December 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm (7 years ago)

      I agree with previous comment that it is optional. I think if you interact with these people it makes a big difference. Our mail carriers are constantly changing, I never see the trash collectors, and many of these services I don’t have.

      • jenniferdaku
        December 19, 2015 at 9:51 pm (7 years ago)

        I think this list is more of a guide than a black-and-white, but I see your point. We’ve been lucky to have the same mailman for five years (whew!). My three year old made cookies for him last year for Christmas (“made” = the ready-made cut-out cookies from the store) and he LOVED them. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. xo

    5. Amber | Cupcakes and Coffee Grounds
      December 17, 2015 at 10:45 am (7 years ago)

      Okay, well some of these I really had no clue about, so I really like this list. I do know that now that I have kids, I’m going to start running an at home sweat shop and having them make gifts instead of buying them. #winning

      • jenniferdaku
        December 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm (7 years ago)

        GREAT IDEA. Last year we made cookies for the mailman and our neighbors, and they were a big hit (and inexpensive!)

    6. Julie S.
      December 17, 2015 at 7:32 am (7 years ago)

      Interesting, I wouldn’t have thought we were expected to tip all these people. Some of these I don’t even interact with, like the garbage or mail people, they come do their things when we are away at work. Plus what bugs me is I don’t get a holiday bonus or tip at my job so it feels strange to have to tip everyone else. We did tip our lawn people and nanny though this past week.

      • jenniferdaku
        December 17, 2015 at 9:27 am (7 years ago)

        I don’t necessarily think tipping all these people is “expected,” rather, it’s just a nice gesture that’s optional. I get it: the Holidays are expensive!