How much should you tip for the holidays?

December 11, 2009 10:15:47 PM PST
You may already know that holiday tipping is a tradition, but if you have trouble trying to figure out who to tip and how much then you're not alone. Consumer Reports says it looks like it's shaping up to be another lean year, but a just-released survey can give you some guidance.

There's the hair stylist that makes you look fabulous year-round, your manicurist, and what about the housekeeper who keeps things spic and span, or the nanny who looks after your clan? Lest you forget a critical one, do mail carriers get in on the holiday tip fun?

A survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center set out to determine who gets tipped and what's given. More than 1,800 people were asked about holiday tipping in 2008.

"Tipping was much leaner last year. We found a definite drop in the number of service providers who were tipped," said Donato Vaccaro.

Among them, manicurists saw fewer tips. So did newspaper and mail carriers. The most commonly tipped turned out to be housekeepers, childcare providers, teachers, and hairdressers. So who got the most?

"Our survey found that house cleaners got the biggest tip on average: $50. And they were followed by childcare providers, who got an average gift value of $40," said Vaccaro.

If this year is like last, then $20 will be the tip of choice for sanitation workers and hairdressers alike.

Consumer Reports found that while teachers are among the most commonly tipped, some school districts do not allow money to be given. Most of those surveyed gave teachers a non-cash gift.

If you're not sure what to give someone who provides a weekly service, Consumer Reports says a good rule of thumb is a week's worth of pay.


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