Linda In The News - North County Times

Holiday Tipping Should Come From The Heart

by Cyndie Claypool de Neve, North County Times, December 9, 2001

Something about the holidays makes us more generous.

Thanksgiving gets us thinking about being thankful, and that includes all the service people for whom we are grateful, like our letter carrier, house-cleaner, baby-sitter, hairdresser, manicurist. Then a few weeks later, during the gift-giving of Christmas and Hanukkah, we have the opportunity to show our gratitude.

But what is the best way to give a holiday tip or year-end gift?

It's most appreciated if it comes with a personal touch: money inside a card with a hand-written note of thanks; a gift certificate for a favorite coffee shop, book store or movie theater; home-baked goodies.

The general rule of thumb in many cases, said Linda Manassee Buell of Poway ---- a certified "life coach" who researches etiquette so she can better inform her clients ---- is to tip the person the equivalent of one service fee. For instance, if the house-cleaner gets $40, then the tip should equal about $40 above the normal fee.

According to the Web site of etiquette expert Peggy Post, that changes when it comes to a live-in or full-time baby-sitter. Then the standard is a week's worth of wages, if that is affordable.

"Tips to me are also based on service," said Buell. "If the person has gone above and beyond I'll give them a little more, like my lawn guy, if the sprinkler breaks or if I have an emergency water problem, he'll come right over."

To decide if a tip is appropriate, consider if there's a long-term relationship with the person, she said. For instance, she doesn't tip the person who delivers her UPS packages. "We don't interact on a weekly basis," she said.

But she does leave treats for her letter carrier inside her mailbox. And she gives the newspaper deliverer $10 for weekend service and $25 for daily delivery.

She doesn't give cash tips to professionals, such as her chiropractor, massage therapist and financial planner, because, "I pay them well all year."

If she happens to have an appointment with them in December, then she might bring in a plate of goodies, like her roasted Simple Pecan Treats (recipe below).

Food gifts are a tasty way to show appreciation.

Josh Goucher, manager at Rancho Santa Fe Mobil, a full-service station in Rancho Santa Fe, enjoys his customers' homemade gifts.

"We have a lot of regular customers who come here for service," said Goucher. "During the holidays, people are very generous. They give boxes of cookies, bottles of wine, cases of beer."

His favorite gift was homemade macadamia cookies. "They were excellent," he said.

Typically, he doesn't accept cash gifts. "Generally, if they offer a tip, I turn it down unless they insist," said Goucher, who lives with his wife and two children in Rancho Penasquitos. "Usually, at Christmas time, when I receive an envelope with a card and money in it, at that point I accept it."

No matter what the gift, he said, it's never expected. But when someone does think of him, "It makes me feel good," he said. "It shows they appreciate us going the extra mile for them."

Ruth Boring, manager of Bellissima Day Spa in Escondido, a full-service salon and spa, said, "In general, tipping in the spa or service industry is according to the individual and based on service. It's not expected, and it shows appreciation if the person is pleased with the service."

She said that clients who have developed a special rapport with their technician usually bring in a little something if they have an appointment scheduled around the holidays.

"Some people give baked goods, some purchase a little present or bring in a box of chocolates," said Boring. "Everyone appreciates the thoughtfulness ---- and it satisfies our sweet tooth."

Mike Cannone of Ramona gives $20 each to the women who clean his house. "I always leave a cash gift with a card," he said.

The newspaper deliverer gets a $10 gift certificate. When one of his children has a personal relationship with a school bus driver, then he gives a small box of See's candy or something the child knows will be appreciated.

When he considers giving a year-end gift, he looks at "Where do I have a more personal relationship with the people who provide my everyday needs?"

For some professionals, like a teacher, minister or coach, a cash gift is less appropriate. So how do you show them appreciation?

Buell advised, "Keep it simple. Is it useful? Is this something that's a knickknack for a desk? Some people like knickknacks, but the majority of people have enough stuff like that in their life. Look for a more useful gift."

For women, candles and lotions for pampering oneself are usually well-received. And most people like plants, or gift certificates.

Another idea is to make a contribution to a charity significant to the person.

But the most important thing, said Buell, is to make it special. "Tipping is no fun if it's mechanical. The whole idea is to make it fun or special. Even if it's a monetary gift, find a special way to say thank you, maybe with a special card or by writing a note."

To those who argue there just isn't enough time during the holidays to give extra gifts to service personnel, she counters, "Be selective about giving. Think about who you really want to say 'thank you' to. Then it shouldn't be an issue of time. It's about who you would want to take a moment to thank."

Contact Cyndie Claypool de Neve at (760) 740-3511 or

Contact Linda Manassee Buell at or (858) 513-0180.

Visit Peggy Post on the Web at

Copyright 2001, North County Times. All rights reserved.
Used with the permission of North County Times

Return to the top of the page

Welcome . eNewsletter . Simplify Life Products . Self-Help Books . Self-Help Products . Coaching, Consulting & Training . Linda in The News . Getting Started . Find Your Perfect Job . Contact Us

©2009 Simplify Life - All Rights Reserved.

All material provided on the website and this page is provided for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for appropriate professional, medical, and mental health consultation.

Todo el material proporcionado por el sitio web cumple con propósitos meramente informativos y educacionales. No se ha contemplado la intención de que se sustituya por la atención de un profesional idóneo, médico y consulta en salud mental.