While it is rewarding to spread holiday cheer, tipping/gifting can also be stressful when it comes to determining who to tip and how much to give. For instance, should the day care provider who takes care of your toddler get more than the delivery person who always brings packages around to the back door? In addition to considering your own budgetary constraints, it is also important to note that some professionals are legally prohibited from accepting tips and/or gift above a certain value. For instance, under federal regulations, mail carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, are prohibited in any amount. Teachers are also prohibited under state conflicts of interest laws from accepting certain gifts. For instance, in New York City, teachers can only accept gift from a students if they are primarily sentimental in value, such as homemade crafts, cards, and baked goods. Caregivers and others working for charitable and other institutions and organizations may be subject to a code of conduct in an employee handbook or elsewhere that provides for a limit on cash or value of gifts from consumers and their families served by the institution or organization. Before determining the amount of a holiday or other gift to staff, an inquiry ought to be made. As with many other things in life, the above rules are often honored in their breach. As for considerations to take into account for tipping other professionals, below are some tips from Emily Post, the unofficial queen of etiquette:
  • Do you already tip regularly? If you tip at the time of service, you may forego an end of the year tip, or give a more modest holiday thank you. You may also choose to give a small gift instead.
  • The quality and frequency of the service you receive.
  • Your relationship with the service provider.
  • Location: Tipping averages tend to be higher in larger cities.
  • Length of service: The number of years you’ve been using the service.
  • Regional customs.
  • Type of establishment: Is it deluxe or moderate?
Post also suggests that any tip should be accompanied by a handwritten note of appreciation.