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 www.Care.com, 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.