Seal It with a Tip!

Not sure what to give as a simple thank-you gift? See our chart of tipping points from etiquette guru Anna Post

Gifts for family and friends? Check. A healthy supply of eggnog? Double-check. Tips enclosed in envelopes…? Silence.

The holiday season is the perfect  time to show your gratitude for those who make your life a bit easier throughout the year. You don’t have to go above and beyond your means, but you can give just enough to show you care—whatever that may mean for your pockets. Despite the economic slump, Americans are still tipping at the same rate as in previous years, according to a survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Blackenterprise.com spoke with the author and protocol legend Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter, Anna Post, on the importance of creating a budget, what makes a handwritten note  a kind gesture, and why handing over crisp dollar bills is the way to go. Check out her easy-to-follow tips.

Make a list and check it twice. Take a piece of paper and write down all the people who provide you with a service. It’s okay if your list gets extremely long because noting the quality and frequency of the service, length of service and relationship to service provider will narrow things down a bit.

Create a budget. What can you afford to give? It’s a question Post encourages people to ask themselves. Now’s the time to be honest with yourself. This final amount will be based upon how much you can comfortably spend and number of people you choose to tip. After you designate a certain amount for tipping, stick with that total.

Don’t do what the Jones’ are doing, instead do what you can. “Feel good about what you can do, not bad about what you can’t,” says the Emily Post Institute spokesperson. If you can’t provide the payment, choose to give the person a small gift or even a homemade treat. For example, a doorman will appreciate a warm scarf or pair of gloves in place of a tip.

Use clean crisp new bills in the largest denomination. It simply looks better. If you’re tipping someone $50, give a $50 bill as opposed to two $20 bills and a $10 bill. “It’s a little bit of a rush when you see that larger number bill,” says Post. “That’s exciting!”

Whether you’re tipping or not, a short handwritten note will be greatly appreciated.  Post suggests handwritten notes over a computerized message any day. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive just a “thank you for all you do throughout the year,” on nice stationary.

These holiday tipping recommendations are from The Emily Post Institute website.

Black Enterprise Holiday 2010
The Tipping Points

Look at your budget and, realistically, decide how much you can spend on tipping. Next, try drafting a list and prioritizing the services you use most. Here are a few suggestions on ways you can say thank you this holiday season.

Note: Tipping varies based on budget, regional customs and type of business.

Regular babysitter One evening’s pay and a small gift from your child(ren).
Day care provider A gift from you or $25-70 for each staff member and a small gift from your child(ren).
Teachers A small gift or note from you as well as a small gift from your child.
Live-in help One week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.
Home-health
  employee
A thoughtful gift from you. (If gift-giving is not against company policy.)
Housekeeper Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift.
Barber Cost of one haircut or a gift.
Beauty salon staff The cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works with you. Give individual cards or a small gift each for those who work on you.
Personal trainer Up to the cost of one session or a gift.
Garage attendants $10-30 or a small gift
Newspaper delivery
  person
$10-30 or a small gift
Mail carrier Small gift only*
Package deliverer Small gift in the $20 range. Most delivery companies discourage or prohibit cash gifts.
Doorman $15-80. $15 or more each for multiple doormen, or a gift.
Elevator operator $15-40 each
Handyman $15 to $40
Trash/ Recycling
  collectors
$10-30 each
Yard/ Garden
  worker
$20-50 each

*Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other form of currency.

Note: If a service provider works for an agency, make sure you check with the company about tipping policy.

For more holiday content, read:

ACROSS THE WEB