The holiday season is in high gear, and as can be expected, tipping and gift giving during the season for service persons can often become a tricky thing. A few best practices have served our clients and team well over the years, and we hope that by sharing them, they may help you, too!
First, you should always consider your budget first. If you don’t have the budget to give cash, you can always provide a homemade gift accompanied with a handwritten Thank You card. This speaks volumes to those you work with.
If you are giving cash, you should consider your relationship with the service provider and the quality of the service you have received on *most* occasions. Consider your location and area, how luxurious the service you’ve been getting is, and remember – if the service professional has been charging you a grandfathered rate this year, you may want to increase his/her tip a bit.
For home care, you might consider giving a babysitter up to one evening’s pay, and for nannies or housekeepers, up to a week’s extra pay. Barbers and hairdressers could get extra based on the cost of a haircut, and dog walkers typically get up to one week’s pay. The big question in New York City is always around doorman and supers: how much should a family give? The average rate is $15-100 for doorman, and $20-100 for supers, depending on how luxurious your building is and the years of service held by the doorman and super.
One final helpful hint: Mailmen working for the USPS may not accept items such as cash, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency. But small gifts that have less than $20 in value (or snacks and beverages which are not part of a meal) can be accepted during the holidays.
Let us know – what other best practices do you follow when it comes to holiday tipping and gifts?
Plenty of people, it seems, stress about holiday gifts. From the inscription on the card to delivery methods, to the actual gift or service (or gift card, as the case seems to increasingly include), we worry whether what we’re gifting is appropriate and will be received with delight.
What we don’t speak about as often is the challenge of what to do with that gift you didn’t ask for, or that doesn’t fit, or that just doesn’t work. As a receiver, do you politely return or exchange your gift, and as a gift giver, how can you reduce the likelihood of giving a bad gift in the future?
gift or re-gift
We suggest a few tips as a gifting best practice, here:
- Regifting is recycling. It’s actually a fairly innovative practice, but should be used sparingly and with as much thoughtfulness as you would expend in purchasing a brand new gift.
- Regifted items should always include their original box from the store or site, and original manufacturer wrapping if at all possible.
- Don’t regift something that you know the receiver would never desire. It is better not to gift at all than to place your host/friend in an awkward situation.
- Do not regift items like fresh food, or personal items that involve size and color (like hats, gloves, scarfs or clothing). If something is vintage or truly retro, note it in the message inside your card.
- Whether it’s a regift or an original purchase, if you think your gift’s receiver may not understand the intent behind the gift, write a nice sentence or two about your idea for its use in the corresponding card. Or, if you’re going to exchange gifts in-person and the timing is appropriate, nudge the person and explain your intention. This can help to eliminate questions and ease your anxious “gifter” mind.
To avoid gifter’s anxiety, start to designate a section of a drawer or closet as your “Gift Storage” to save a few unisex or last minute gifts that could be appreciated by most anyone. Use this place to store items you’ve received that are unused and worthy of a possible regift. Include a few roles of wrapping paper (solid colors without a holiday theme are best) as well as a few gift bags with handles, a few blank cards, and a pair of scissors and tape. This will help you be prepared for any unexpected situations – and come out ahead.
Here’s to your season of giving,
Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP