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Tipping Around the Holidays; How Does It Work?

Tipping During The Holiday Season

‘Tis the season of giving… and this is evident in how Americans tip during the holiday season. Read our cheat sheet on Holiday Tipping!

According to a survey conducted by ConsumerReports, a renowned nonprofit consumer research entity, 60 percent of Americans tipped service providers during the holiday season of 2017.

If you are wondering about the average amount of the said tips, it wasn’t something to sneeze at. On an average basis, $45 in tips were handed out to service providers.

The service providers, listed in the order of the ones most likely to receive tips, included housekeepers (60 percent), schoolteachers (57 percent), and hairdressers (52 percent).

But those who made that top three don’t always receive equal tips. While housekeepers received a median tip of $65, schoolteachers and hairdressers had to be content with a median tip of only $20.

Another interesting point was how not all service providers were likely to receive tips in a significant margin. For instance, out of the 60 percent of Americans who handed out these tips, only 30 percent tipped their gardeners, and an even lower 14 percent thought to tip their garbage collectors.

What Do These Statistics Show?

What these statistics do, is to highlight just how significant everyday interaction could be in helping us make decisions in different areas of our lives. This is especially true in the aspect of giving back during the holidays.

To elaborate, did you notice how our possible level of interaction with these service providers is directly proportionate to the possibility of them receiving a tip and also their chances of receiving a higher tip?

People could be tipping their housekeepers the most due to the level of interaction they have with them on a daily basis, and how their place of employment is either limited to one house or just a handful of others.

Whereas, it is notable how jobs with limited to no interaction receive limited to no tips, once again strengthening the above theory between interaction and the act of giving. Regular service providers such as garbage collectors are least likely to receive any tips, just because they don’t have a regular interaction with those that they indirectly work for.

But How Should You Tip Around the Holidays?

So does that mean you should tip your housekeepers the most while leaving your hairdressers and schoolteachers behind? Or should you make a conscious effort to ensure that your garbage collector, perhaps the one with the most unpleasant job of all, actually receives the appreciation they deserve?

How much you give and who you give to during the holidays actually depends completely on the individual, it varies from person to person. However, after looking at these statistics, it can safely be said that you should be making a conscious effort for not forgetting those who receive the least amount of holiday love from those who have the power to help them.

In simpler words, make sure to tip your regular service providers almost an equal amount of money, especially when you are aware that their level of income isn’t as high as other segments of society.

You can also make special adjustments for service providers who have a certain rapport with you, such as your housekeeper or your child’s school teacher (after checking the gift-giving policy at the school, of course). This would show that you are not forgetting the investment that is being placed into your children. Make sure to show your appreciation toward them, they certainly deserve it.

The rule of thumb goes as follows:

  • Whenever possible, tip in cash. This allows for the recipient to spend the tip however they like.
  • Tip those well who actively contribute to making your life more comfortable, regardless of daily interaction.
  • Check gift-giving policies at institutions such as your child’s school before you go handing over tips, whether they are in cash or not.
  • Write handwritten notes of gratitude or a simple “Happy Holidays” to show that the tip is your token of appreciation and a means to help the recipient during the holidays.

The notion of tipping could make some people feel awkward, but that’s normal since we have been taught to feel uncomfortable while discussing matters of money in everyday situations.

However, by keeping in mind that these service providers deserve your appreciation and could do with a little help around the holidays, acting on these few points can make the holiday season that much better for them.

Still don’t have a grasp on Holiday Tipping? If not, let us know! We’ll break it down for you! Shoot us an email to, or find us on Twitter, FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website! We look forward to hearing from all of you.

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