Holiday guide to tipping “people who help you all year round”: an expert’s advice for seasonal spending

It’s the season to be merry – and spend money on gifts, travel, food and more.

Whether you’re still thinking about the perfect Christmas gift for mom or considering a few extra bucks to tip your hairstylist, the holidays can spell a big hit for wallets and bank accounts.

Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann in a recent interview with Fox News Digital shared ways to recognize the people in your life appropriately while staying within your budget.

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Swann is the founder of the Swann School of Protocol located in California. Even though there is a “norm” for seasonal giving, tipping during the holidays can vary depending on lifestyle, she said.

While co-hosting a tip and giveaway event with cash app Zelle last week in New York, Swann made a list of who should get an extra tip.

California etiquette expert Elaine Swann offers ways to recognize the people in your life during the holidays. Remember those in the service industry “who have helped make your life easier throughout the year,” she said.
(Jacqueline Coronado)

“Think of all the people in the service industry who have helped make your life easier throughout the year,” she said.

“I understand who helped you…and who is at the top of the list.

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This could include housekeepers, babysitters, baristas, hairdressers, bartenders, dog walkers, doormen, delivery people and others.

Also think about the people who went the extra mile, she said.

Zelle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann highlighted who should be tipped year-round — and the appropriate amounts.

Zelle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann highlighted who should be tipped year-round — and the appropriate amounts.
(Zelle)

“Did the babysitter stay a little longer?” Has the doorman picked up your packages for you? ” she said.

Swann encouraged people to look at their budget and decipher what’s possible to do to tip others, then “roll it out” from there.

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She added that a “good” tip is at least the cost of the service provided.

“The main thing: give something to someone.”

For example, tip your massage therapist or personal trainer for the cost of a session.

But for money conscious people, tipping on a percentage scale will help regulate the amount spent on tips.

Etiquette expert Elaine Swann outlines how much to tip service workers for the holidays, saying the key is to "tip according to your actual budget."

Etiquette expert Elaine Swann determines how much to tip for holiday service workers, saying the key is to “tip within your actual budget”.
(Zelle)

“There are definitely guidelines to follow, however, the key is to tip within your actual budget,” Swann said.

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“The main thing: give something to someone.”

Swann reiterated that it’s important for people to know what they can afford, to avoid dipping into their savings.

Elaine Swann is pictured at left.  As for tips, she said people should give what they are able to give.  She also urged thinking about tipping.

Elaine Swann is pictured at left. As for tips, she said people should give what they are able to give. She also urged thinking about tipping.
(Elaine Swann/iStock)

And while inflation drove up prices across the board, Swann came up with other inventive ways to give without breaking the bank.

“It’s the one giveaway that you know people are absolutely going to use.”

This could include participating with family members or friends to purchase a group gift for a loved one.

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“That way everyone is in on it, but people can give exactly what they can,” she said.

“People sometimes have a tendency to mistakenly believe that giving a group gift is ‘cheap’, but this really shows [recipients] that all these people care about them,” she noted.

Etiquette expert Elaine Swann's three tips for giving on a budget are listed here.  A recent study by Zelle found that 48% of people would rather receive a digital payment than cash or check.

Etiquette expert Elaine Swann’s three tips for giving on a budget are listed here. A recent study by Zelle found that 48% of people would rather receive a digital payment than cash or check.
(Zelle)

Swann also advocated for using cash apps to send money digitally as gifts.

A recent study by Zelle found that 48% of people said they would rather receive money as a digital payment than cash or check, Swann noted.

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“It’s important for us to recognize that,” she said. “It’s the one giveaway that you know people are absolutely going to use.”

“Put a note that says, ‘Here’s for that new designer bag you’ve been planning on buying,’ or ‘Here’s for that next round of golf.'”

Swann added that this type of monetary exchange is a sign that the gifts are changing – and it’s “completely acceptable”.

Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann speaks at Zelle's Gift and Tipping event in New York City on December 13, 2022. "give freely," said Swann. "It's the holiday season."

Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann speaks at Zelle’s gift and tip event in New York City on Dec. 13, 2022. “Give freely,” Swann said. “It’s the holiday season.”
(Sydney Borchers/Fox News Digital)

“It’s okay – and give freely,” she said. “It’s the holiday season.”

Digital gifts can be given with a little more “grace and style” by adding a personal message, she said.

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“Put a note that says, ‘Here’s that new designer bag you’ve been planning on buying,'” she said. “Or, ‘Here’s the next round of golf.'”

She added, “That way it always feels personal and doesn’t feel last minute.”

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