How to Handle Holiday Tipping in Today's Tight TimesBased on the record $52 billion Americans spent over the Black Friday weekend and the more than $1 billion they spent online on Cyber Monday alone, you might think money woes are less of an issue this holiday season.

However, in a recent poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 40% of respondents said they aren't shopping at all for the holidays because they're expecting further financial distress in their households.

But while the high rollers are hitting the stores, and the financially shaky are pinching pennies to pay the bills, many people in between are struggling with another seasonal debate: How to handle holiday tipping this year.

It's an uncomfortable thing to ponder, but for some of us, a new strategy for tipping may be in order. Here are some tips:

Stick to Your Budget

"Don't put yourself in the poorhouse," says Cindy Post Senning, a director at the Emily Post Institute, the experts in all things etiquette.

It's simple: Do what you can afford. Don't feel pressured to tip. Tip based on loyalty. If you don't see someone regularly, don't feel compelled to tip, or don't tip as much as someone you do business with on a regular basis. "A tip is based on the relationship you enjoy with the person to whom you are giving a monetary gift," says Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, which specializes in corporate etiquette training.

Be Creative

Think homemade cookies, jams, jellies, bread, candy, potpourri. Make candles, or a book of your favorite holiday recipes. If you knit or crochet, show you care with crafts. You're only limited by your imagination.


Are you planning to give holiday tips this year?
Yes, I always do.1083 (53.8%)
I am not sure, have to see how my money is looking.248 (12.3%)
I want to, but don\'t have the money this year.253 (12.6%)
No way, I can barely buy gifts for my children and family.221 (11.0%)
I never give tips, period.208 (10.3%)

Creativity seems cool and cheap, but think about the person you intend to give such a gift to. If they won't be wowed or touched by such displays of affection, think twice. "Creativity is seldom admired or appreciated at the holiday season. Cash is king. After all, how many homemade cookies can a doorman eat and still fit into his uniform?" asks Hilka Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International.

The Power of a Simple 'T
hank You'

If all else fails, a thank-you card or note is never a mistake, says Klinkenberg -- just don't make it read like something you could have written to anyone. It should be personal, thanking them for a specific deed or deeds, or somehow reflect the uniqueness of what they do for you that you appreciate. Sometimes a personal note is far better than any gift, says Gottsman -- and it's surely better than nothing at all.

If you do go the creative route, give a store-bought gift or cash, a personal note or card should go along with it.

For those who have the means to give, the gift gurus provide a few guidelines.

What Not to Do

"Don't get too personal with gifts like perfume or lingerie," cautions Post Senna.

You also want to be sure the person's organization permits them to receive gifts. Rules vary and can be strict. For example, the U.S. Postal Service doesn't allow its workers to receive cash or gift cards with a value of more than $20; at FedEx, the limit is $75, according to Gottsman. Many schools have policies about teachers receiving cash -- it could be misconstrued as a bribe. Small, inexpensive gifts, or a group gift may be best.

What to Do

For the regulars that always have your back, Klinkenberg suggests tips equivalent to the cost of one use of their service: Thus, give the hairdresser the price of one session; the babysitter, an extra evening's pay, plus a small gift from your child; the housekeeper, up to one week's pay and/or a gift; the nanny or au pair should also receive up to one week's pay and a small gift from your child; the gardner, $20-$50; the dog walker, the equivalent of one week's pay.

Gottsman adds to this list, $10-$30 for the young turk who delivers your newspaper; double the usual tip for your manicurist; a generous basket of holiday treats for the nursing home staffers who take care of your parents or other family members ; $50-plus for your apartment building's doorman, $50 to $100 for for the landlord or building manager; $20-50 for the elevator operator in your building; $20-50 for the building handyman.

Finally, Klinkenberg offers this general guideline: Tip service professionals and give gifts to professionals like teachers.

Holiday tipping doesn't have to be terribly expensive, but it should be thoughtful.





Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

49 Comments

Filter by:
merry

I am a tall girl, I joined a club -- ' Tal l'' H U b'.С 0 m -- where I could chat with many hot ta ll guys. Come on, join us, discuss love with us.

January 14 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dating

Try a free dating site that offers a different angle to online dating. Best is Wealthychats.com dating site. It is completely free. Beside, you can find out if other members have mutual friends wealthily and beautifully! Also they have member videos too!

January 06 2012 at 1:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Baby

You are not alone, find your soul mate on -- Tal lH UB. C○ m -- where many t al l s ingles who like dating and chatting there. I'm a tall girl from US, I also like dating with t all guys on it

January 03 2012 at 10:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Fed res dollar printing has increased to keep up with US treasury's need for them as debt buyer of last resort. Euro is doing same for their debt but doesn't hold the luxury as world's res currency. Fed exports it's inflation to the world euro can't & WILL hypor inflate to ZERO. Europ will run to the dollar as others trade for gld/slvr. Even with small demand increase gld/slvr price rise outside the fed's ability to keep suprpressed & dollar will start its final fall, world WILL panic & gld/slvr will BE only reserve currency. World fiat monotary system is collapsing & we face deep depression. Got Gold? China & India does, why's that you figure?

December 26 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Tip? who's going out any more? That's a silfver or gold coin for my savings. Got gold?

December 26 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Htrfh

I am a young and beautiful woman from US. i just think here is a good place to meet friends. i just wonder if i can meet a rich daddy here, because i am at the beginning of my career and i need someone's support..iuploaded my hot photos on ----[SugarDadMeet.C óM ]----under the name babylove2011 , maybe you want to check out my photos firstly!
In my NYC apartment we have almost 40 members of the building crew--doormen, concierges, porters, package room attendants, people who clean etc etc etc. Following your guidelines I'd have to hock the kitty to pay for tips. Even comfortable elderly widows have limits!!!! Yours were way too high!

December 13 2011 at 3:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
R.

Tips are for paperboys (when paperboys were children), and waitresses.

December 12 2011 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ANNE VICTORIA

thank you for the insight. I thought this was helpful and realistic.

December 11 2011 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Fields

NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD BUT AMERICA DO YOU SEE THESE TYPES OF DEMAND FOR TIPS. I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE RESTURANTS DEMANDS FOR A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF THE BILL FOR A TIP, THE OWNERS NEED TO COUGH UP BETTER SALARIES, THEN THE EMPLOYEES WOULD NOT HAVE TO DEPEND ON TIPS. FOR THOSE WHO SAY THEY GIVE UP TO 25% TIP ONLY COMPOUNDS THE PROBLEM.

December 09 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Fields's comment
savemycountry911

If you don't tip, you may have your food spit in.

December 09 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jstottle

Please don't tell me how or how much to tip!!!!

December 09 2011 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply