Holiday tips: who to tip and how much, according to experts

The holidays are a time to show your loved ones that you care, but it’s also a time to show your appreciation for the professionals who make your day to day flow seamlessly with a holiday tip.

More American adults plan to tip the service providers they use annually this season, according to a new Bankrate survey, compared to last year, with 54% saying they are likely to tip more higher than normal during the holidays for service industry workers such as restaurant servers, hairdressers, barbers, bartenders and food delivery workers.

Who to tip?

Try tipping anyone to make your life a little easier. “If you have a regular service provider who helps you throughout the year, perhaps a dedicated housekeeper or a hairdresser you really like, it might be customary to give a holiday tip equal to the cost of a service,” says analyst Ted Rossman.

You might consider holiday tipping service workers like:

  • Child care provider
  • Maid/housekeeper
  • Personal trainer
  • Groomer or dog walker
  • Postman
  • Porter
  • Gardener

How much should you tip?

The right amount will depend on a few different factors, like service performed, frequency, quality of service, etc. Bankrate reports that the median tip is between $20 and $50 depending on the service provider, but the “right amount” for a holiday tip will ultimately depend on your budget. You never want to stretch your budget to tip.

Look at your budget to determine how much you have available for tips, then make a list of all the service providers you plan to tip. Once you know how many people you’ll need to tip, you can determine if you need to shorten that list or get creative with how you choose to show your appreciation. You might choose to give them a small gift instead of a cash tip, which can be more thoughtful and cost-effective.

You should also know what types of tips each service worker is allowed to accept. Some occupations may have restrictions in place on workers accepting cash gifts, gift cards, or other forms of currency. For example, letter carriers working for the United States Postal Service are only permitted to accept snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal, and small gifts up to a value of $20 $.

If you’re able to tip, etiquette expert Elaine Swann says using a peer-to-peer payment method is the best way to donate money.

“According to a recent study by Zelle on consumer behavior regarding gifts and tips, almost half of consumers (48% to be exact) would prefer to receive money by digital payment rather than cash or check” , says Swann. “Digital payments are all about convenience – you don’t need to find an ATM to withdraw cash, and you can always keep it personal by adding a thank you note in the memo field.”

3 ways to make room in your budget for vacation tips

Inflation has weighed on the average amount of a holiday tip – the median holiday tip has fallen at four of six services since last year, with no median tip exceeding $40.

Still, depending on how many workers you give, this can add up quickly.

Ideally, you want to get into the habit of saving for holiday expenses all year round. By setting aside a little each month for the holidays, you avoid having to pay the bill all at once and can comfortably afford to buy gifts, travel, host and attend holiday events, and give gifts. tips. However, if your budget seems very tight this year, you might consider the following tips to give yourself more leeway:

  1. Set a budget before you shop and research discounts: Before you start your holiday gift shopping, make a list of each person you plan to buy a gift for and set a budget for how much you are able to spend on each person. Avoid impulsive splurges and look for ways to cut costs by using credit card points, miles or cash back to cover your purchases. You can also consider using browser extensions such as Honey or Rakuten while shopping online so you don’t miss any coupons or deals on the items you purchase.
  2. Participate in the gift exchanges: Participating in White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchanges can significantly reduce your holiday costs and make it easier for you to set aside extra cash for holiday tips. Whether you are exchanging gifts with family, friends, or co-workers, consider planning a gift exchange with a larger group, budgeting for how much each person could spend, and using the money you would have invested in gifts for the whole family. in your vacation tip fund.
  3. Offer a discounted gift card as a vacation tip: Sites like and Raise sell higher value gift cards at a discount. If the person you’re tipping has a favorite retailer, you might be able to get them a gift card they’ll love for a fraction of the price.

“Many economic circumstances can affect who and how much you give, whether it’s inflation or the impending recession,” says Swann. ‚ÄúDuring the pandemic, we have seen individuals tip more if they could. I encourage anyone who can afford to be more generous to continue giving what they can during inflation and a recession to help compensate those who cannot do the same.

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