Holiday guide to gratuity: Who should you tip and how much?

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(Photo: WKRN)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It can get confusing trying to figure out who you’re supposed to give an extra tip to during the holidays, or even regular tipping throughout the year.

From your hairstylist to your babysitter, financial expert Jason Laux from Synergy Group, an independent financial services firm, has all the answers you’ll need when it comes to who and what to tip.

How much you tip comes down to how long you have been a client and how often you use a service that makes your life easier.

Sometimes, it’s best to give cash. Other times, like during the holidays, a small gift is just as appropriate.

Child Care/nannies

  • A regular babysitter should receive up to one evening’s pay and a small gift from your child, which doesn’t have to cost money, as a holiday bonus
  • A daycare provider should receive $25-$70 and a small gift from your child
  • A teacher can receive a small gift too, but check the school’s policy first to make sure it’s ok to give a Christmas gift

Beauty/personal care

  • Massage therapists, hair stylists and manicurists should receive a tip equaling the cost of your service, along with a small optional gift
  • During the rest of the year, you should tip them anywhere from 15-20 percent

Delivery Services

  • Your UPS or FedEx driver should receive $15-$25 for the holiday
  • The newspaper carrier’s tip should be $5-$25
  • By law, U.S. Postal Service mail carriers cannot accept cash, checks or gift cards, so you can give them a small gift, snack or beverage that costs less than $20 for Christmas


  • A waiter or waitress should receive 20-25 percent during the holiday season
  • But, waiters or waitresses at local diners that have cheap eats should receive a 40 percent tip
  • During the rest of the year, you should tip them anywhere from 15-20 percent

Don’t forget to tip your dog walker and groomer, the doorman at your apartment complex, your mechanic or handyman, your housekeeper, your trash collector and even your gardener.

A big box store clerk deserves a tip too if they carry a large gift like a big screen TV or a treadmill to your car. A clerk averages about $10 an hour, so a $10 tip would work.

If money is tight, you can always give homemade goods with a handwritten thank-you note.

For more information, visit Synergy Group’s website. Also, read about Laux’s ways to avoid holiday scams.