We are always asked about tipping caregivers at the holidays. And typically, your nanny and dog walker aren’t the only helpers on your tip list. How much is enough? And do you do this out of gratitude or obligation? Below, Katie starts the discussion and shares some recent Care.com stats.
But it’s necessary.
I have to be honest. I don’t enjoy tipping at the holidays. Each December I feel like I’m bleeding money. It actually makes the red décor even more appropriate.
I spend over $500 in tips each holiday season. It’s painful. It’s crazy. But it’s important. And there are still a number of people I have to cut from the tip list.
Here’s the thing: a holiday tip (or bonus in some circumstances) should be telling someone they did a wonderful job. It should feel like less of an obligation and more of a “you deserve this.” But does anyone really feel joy when handing over large amounts of money? It’s now expected that a nanny will get at least a week’s pay as a bonus. That’s substantial. It’s also expected to tip your housecleaner and dog walker the amount of one session. No wonder the 2014 Care.com survey on tipping reports that 17% of people spend over $300 in tips at the holidays.
The survey also revealed that 15% of couples fight about holiday tips, men tip more -- and women feel more guilt about not tipping. Sound about right? (See more data in our infographic below)
Unless we’re actually the freaking Wolf of Wall Street, we can’t go around handing out cash to everyone we love.
The thing is, you can’t be a cheapskate about this stuff. Your in-home helpers – like your sitter and house cleaner – know if you’re pinching pennies this Christmas. They see the boxes being delivered, the clothes your kids are wearing, the décor you’re hanging. You can’t spoil everyone in your family – and leave your nanny a cookie plate.
So here’s a gut check – if it’s super hard to part with the tip, it’s probably a sign you feel the person doesn’t deserve the money. And that might mean a change should happen in the near future. Ask yourself: Am I struggling because of the amount – or the work done?
This A to Z holiday tipping guide honestly makes me sweat bullets. There’s no way I could tip all of these people. But the point is that you need budget for the important ones. The people who make my life easier day after day. But I have to skip the people I “tip” with my repeat business, referrals, and who receive regular tips (like my hairdresser).
And then there are the people who send us holiday cards -- that are really requesting tips – like the dry clean delivery person (an important person to not hate us) and our mail carrier (for braving the elements alone). So they get tips too. A good marketing strategy pays, I guess.
This holiday season, we’re all going to be faced with what to get the caregivers in our lives. And the best thing is really money. Everyone needs it and wants more of it. So focus on the list of who really helps you this year, and whether you wrap it up in a gift card, add it to their payroll account or hand out some cash – anything you can give goes a long way. A nice note saying how much you appreciate them helps too!
So tell me, who do you tip at the holidays? And how do you really feel about it?