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Tips for Holiday Tipping | Adventures in Motherhood | Moms talk about families, kids, babies and pregnancy, from the Dayton Daily News

Home > Blogs > Adventures in Motherhood > Archives > 2009 > December > 25 > Entry

Tips for Holiday Tipping

Whom should we tip, and how much? That’s a perennial question we all deal with (or should) during the holidays.

I received a press release with some good advice on thanking those who serve your family well throughout the year.

(Yes, I’m busy-busy with Christmas stuff too, so I’m letting another writer carry my blog this week. So sue me. Wait, don’t do that.)

Among the etiquette tips from Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder of, a Web site designed to help you find babysitters, tutors, senior caregivers, house sitters, and more:

— Nannies and au pairs: If you have a full-time nanny, offer them a tip or a “Christmas bonus” that reflects 10 percent to 15 percent of one week’s pay.

— Regular babysitters: If you have a go-to sitter who takes care of your children regularly, say thank you with a tip or a gift worth one or two nights’ pay: whatever equals about a week’s worth of service.

— Coaches, tutors and instructors: Get your child involved in thanking teachers with a small gift or a thank-you card and a gift certificate.

— Pet sitters or groomers: If you have someone regularly take care of your animals while you’re at work or traveling, say thank you with a week’s pay.

— Home-care attendants and caregivers: One week’s pay, but give two weeks for extra special care or long-term service.

Sheila says if money is tight, you can be creative with your tipping: Give your caregiver a few extra days in paid time off to use throughout the year. They’ll appreciate it!

Other People You Should Tip:

— School bus drivers, who are often overlooked: A small thank you (a $10 gift certificate and a card signed by your children) is a nice “something extra” in December.

— Mail carriers, newspaper delivery people and garbage collectors: A nice card with a $10 gift certificate for coffee or a plate of fresh cookies goes far when it’s cold outside!

— Housekeepers: If you have a regular housekeeper (I wish I did), tell them thank you by giving them an extra week’s pay during the holiday season.

— Baristas: Some of us have those regular spots that we visit daily for our morning coffee or bagel. If you’re used to seeing the same person and they give you great service, say thanks! Buy them a cup and give them a card. They’ll be surprised, and pleased, by your consideration.

I read another good tip in a church bulletin the other day: Don’t forget to smile and say thank you to all those low-paid clerks you deal with during the season’s mad shopping rush.

If you’re tempted to let loose on a clerk after waiting too long in a check-out line, just think of all those who have done it before you.

He or she really doesn’t need more garbage heaped upon them. Being pleasant doesn’t cost a dime.

Permalink | Comments (12) | Post your comment | Categories: Christmas, Helpful tips


By jen

January 13, 2010 4:07 PM | Link to this

I am really surprised buy all of the comments regarding the amount one should tip one’s nanny/au pair. I realize that it might be customary to tipa certain percentage, but that doesn’t mean that the nanny should EXPECT to receive such a huge bonus. Any gift is a token of appreciation, should be given freely based on what you can afford, and should be accepted gracefully by the recipient. Miss Manners would surely be saddened by the money-grubbing attitude many commenters are displaying this holiday season.

By LucyB

January 4, 2010 7:31 PM | Link to this

I have asked the publicist to clarify the discrepancy and will let you know what I hear from her.

By LucyB

January 4, 2010 7:21 PM | Link to this

Sorry for the delay in responding — I was on vacation and can’t check my business e-mail from home. Upon looking at the original e-mail this blog was based on (as clearly stated and attributed), the release I received from Senior Publicist Wendy Roberts of, representing’s Sheila Lirio Marcelo, said (and I quote): “Tips for Child Care Providers:  Nannies and Au Pairs: If you have a full-time nanny, offer them a tip or a “Christmas bonus” that reflects 10-15 percent of one week’s pay.” The release asked that the information be printed as is, with credit given. I received Wendy’s e-mail on Dec. 21. No correction or clarification was sent along to bloggers. Upon reflection, this does seem extremely low, but hey, what do I know? I’ve never had a nanny or au pair, so I was relying on the information provided. Nannies and au pairs of the world: Please don’t take this blog as a personal affront! I was simply trying to remind readers to remember those who make their lives easier.

By Nannies make more

December 29, 2009 5:46 AM | Link to this

Why has not anyone fixed the misquote?? Anybody from publication read or check their references? Nannies make at least 1 week salary and a gift for holiday bonus! Hello, quote correctly or fix bad info.

By Bad Article

December 27, 2009 10:32 AM | Link to this

Are you kidding? Nannies and au pairs make more than that. Only if you want your caregiver to quit listen to LucyB’s advice! I sure hope is misquoted or they should quit close down their web site now!! I have never received less than $1,000 for holiday bonus as a nanny and that is more than one weeks pay!!

By Nannies Make More

December 26, 2009 5:46 PM | Link to this

WRONG! Full time nannies and au pairs get at least one week to one month’s salary for holiday bonus. I hope it’s a misquote. Since 1995 lowest bonus I got was $1,000 as a nanny and that was 1995. This year $4,500.

By Heather

December 26, 2009 1:20 PM | Link to this

I am always happy to receive any kind of bonus, but this article says that a full time nanny should get 10-15% of a weeks salary, while a pet sitter or groomer should get a full weeks salary as a bonus. Unbelievable!

By Nanny Bonus Misquote

December 26, 2009 12:14 PM | Link to this

You misquoted On Dec 7, 2009 Sheila wrote: If you have a full-time nanny, offer them a tip or a “Christmas bonus” that reflects a full week’s pay. While it may sound like a lot of money for a gift, these caregivers watch over our most precious possessions and we should thank them. If finances are an issue (as they are for many), I suggest giving a few days of extra paid vacation during the following year on top of your gift to help spread out the cost.

By Michelle

December 26, 2009 12:05 PM | Link to this

You misquoted quote right on their web site blog on Dec 7 2009: “If you have a full-time nanny, offer them a tip or a ‘Christmas bonus’ that reflects a full week’s pay.”

By Best Nanny Newsletter

December 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Link to this

Parents should pay their full-time nannies one to three weeks salary for a typical holiday bonus. Wall St Journal and Best Nanny Newsletter recommend at LEAST one week salary plus a gift from the children. Au pair agencies and nanny agencies recommend the same one week salary for Christmas bonus. That is a minimum for a great nanny ro au pair. If parents cannot afford that then they simply should be honest and explain that they cannot afford that bonus to the nanny or she will assume that her performance has fallen short.

By debbie

December 26, 2009 11:34 AM | Link to this

10% to 15% of weekly pay for au pairs and nannies is not true at all. Any nanny or au pair would be insulted with such a low bonus. AT LEAST one week salary is customary for au pairs and nannies. Google it online and you will find that what is written here is false.

By Jean

December 26, 2009 11:33 AM | Link to this

Great article :) A nice place to post thank you messages to coaches and teachers (or anyone, really) is The stories of gratitude posted there will last forever and inspire others who read them to follow in the footsteps of those being thanked. It’s free. You can make a charitable donation in their honor too, if you choose to.

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