Holiday tipping can be confusing. The latest Money Matters Report looks at who should be on your list and how much you might want to give them. Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
When it comes to holiday gift giving, here's a tip: If you can afford it, show your appreciation to anyone who provides a service.
"This is the time of year when we can really say thank you, and we do that in the form of gratuity," says Lena Koropey, founder of Gramercy Protocol.
How much can be confusing. Let's start with the people who work in your building. The superintendent might get anywhere from $100 to $250. The doormen, $50 to 100 each.
"A lot of it depends on our personal budget. It depends on the environment locally, the building type," Koropey say.s
Patricia Napier Fitzpatrick of The Etiquette School of New York says it also depends on how much you rely on them.
"So if you have your office at home and you're getting deliveries all day and your doormen are there to accept them, I would think you would give them a little more," Fitzpatrick says.
Speaking of deliveries, you can give your mail carrier a gift worth up to $20, but federal employees are not allowed to accept cash tips or gift cards.
Next, there are the people who work in your home, like a housekeeper or nanny. Their tip should based on their salary.
"A full-time housekeeper, full-time nanny could get anywhere from a week to a month's extra salary as part of their holiday gift. Babysitters who don't come all the time, maybe they just come occasionally, you just give them an extra one night's pay," Fitzpatrick says.
Koropey says that same principal applies to people you see regularly, like your hairstylist or personal trainer.
"The tip is the cost of one service or one session," Koropey says. "So we know when we go to our hairstylist that typically we pay, let's say it's $80 for the service, we know that during the holiday, we'll add an extra $80 in a card."
How you present this gift is important, too. It should be delivered in person in an envelope with a handwritten note.
"A lot of it has to do with the personal touch," Koropey says. "It's a way of saying thank you from the heart."
Fitzpatrick also makes a point to use new, crisp bills. As for when to make the gift-giving rounds, she says there's no time like the present.
"The service providers are going to use this money to buy gifts for their families," Fitzpatrick says. "So don't wait for the day before Christmas."