At the holidays, who do you tip, and why, and how much?

A common holiday custom is to give tips to those who provide services throughout the year. Today’s Question: At the holidays, who do you tip, and why, and how much?

  • Greg H

    you know something – none. I don’t want to think of myself as heartless or selfish … but … dang …. none, doesn’t seem right. I better correct that.

  • Stephanie

    I tip everyone who does a service for me, from coffee to a cab.

    I have been a florist for years and have realized that most people, however, don’t think a florist deserves a tip. During the holidays and for any event, being a florist can be unbelievably exhausting; yes, it can be fun, but we do a service just like the caterers and a DJ. So for anyone getting a beautiful holiday centerpiece or having a wedding or event, please tip your florists and let them know that you appreciate their service.

  • Pat

    I tip my hairstylist, garbage collector and paper delivery person. My stylist receives the same amount my cut would cost. I tip the garbage collectors $25 each and my weekly paper delivery person receives $50, the weekend delivery person $25. I grew up in a family that always tipped service people. I have found this practice extremely rewarding. I get smiles and waves when I see these people, and sometimes even above and beyond service.

  • hl

    PLEASE, please, do not forget your paper carrier, whether it’s still one of the kids plowing through the snow to your door with a sled full of newspapers or a driver out in all kinds of weather, slithering along our crazy snow-covered roads to get us the news on time. If you value the continuance of newspapers at all, don’t forget to tip–well–this critical link in our daily delivery of the hard copy news!

    Other tips? Since my hair gets cut by whoever gets my number, I tip for my Christmas ‘do the same as any other time of the year.

  • Keith

    Tio your garbage man? You’ve got to be kidding! I would no more tip my garbage man or my newspaoer carrier then I would the cashier at Target or McDonalds. It’s their job to do what they do. I already pay them by paying my bill.

  • Suzanne

    When I lived in a house I would give the garbage haulers, recycling haulers and postal carriers a large bag of home-made chocolate chip cookies.

  • Matt A

    This one is a contentious one around my household. Having once been a dishwasher, fry cook, sandwich “artist”, cashier, stocker, and other food service type jobs, I have experienced first-hand how crappy the standard pay can be for those individuals who are typically tipped.

    Some places use tipping as an excuse not to pay their workers a fair wage. Which is a travesty.

    On the flip side, some workers don’t deserve a tip after their crappy services rendered.

    I guess I’m still on the fence. If the service is good, expect a decent tip. If not…well, sorry, but too bad.

  • Kevin VC


    Should this change JUST because of the Holidays????

    Seriously, its not like the divine only pays attention during the Holidays.

    Anyone who obviously is not paid what they are worth in their job by stingy Employers not willing to pay a livable wage.

    Still that does not make up for the LACK of pay from the stingy.

    But if they helped you a tip is suppose to be a ‘appreciation’ for their help, small but present. Not their whole income.

    Granted many don’t realize they should tip, much less the 15% rule……

  • Albert

    the service industry is a place where good service should always be rewarded not just during the holidays.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The larger question is why service workers aren’t paid what their worth by their employers, and why should the quality of service I receive from those workers depend on how much I tip? The cost of that service should be factored in to the price I pay the employer for whatever it is I’m buying. If government workers adjusted their quality of service based on how big a tip they could expect, we’d call that bribery. The whole practice of tipping is the same thing, only in the private sector. I do tip fairly generously all year long, because my income is higher than most of those workers, and I feel sorry for them that their employers are so stingy, but I would much prefer if the whole practice could be abolished.

  • Steve the Cynic

    And on Christmas my dog gets an extra Milk Bone or two.

  • Tim in Rochester

    Any teacher or coach who has personally touched the life of my child gets special thanks, despite their being paid for their work.

  • Nancy

    I plan to tip our paper delivery person this year, and it couldn’t be more deserved. Our paper was delivered to our door in South Minneapolis by 8 am both Saturday and Sunday during last weekend’s storm. What great customer service!

  • Ned

    The tip guru you had on the air, talked of tipping the gardener, the housekeeper, the doorman, the pedicurist, and other high class service folk. I’m hoping I didn’t hear correct, he wrote a book?

    I can’t image most listeners know the world he’s living in.

    And wonder, MPR, do you understand the world we’re living in? Make it real, bring it home to the common man.

  • Trish

    I’m curious as to how you tip your garbage hauler? Mine does not get out of the truck and I’m worried that if I left him anything it would end up in the truck with the rest of my trash!

  • Kevin M

    I suspect some of you are getting coal in your stocking (or in your mailbox). I tip the carriers of all things – both to me and from me, by giving them a $15 gift card to Target or Rainbow. Seriously, as Nancy said, our paper has come without fail (though last Sunday it was a little late, but I don’t begrudge him that) throughout the inclement weather. As far as mail goes, my fiancée and I have received so many large parcels over the holidays, and the patience and ingenuity of our mail carrier when delivering said items is an inspiration. To not give him a special thanks for putting up with my Amazon shipping crap would be to slap him in the face. As far as garbage and recycling goes, these people come to your house in the bitter cold and take your trash to the dump. Why would you not toss them a “thank you” twonsky? (yes, I just used the word “twonsky”) If you get up and walk around your neighborhood at five in the morning, or enjoy carrying heavy and/or smelly parcels down the block and back, you don’t owe anyone a tip. If you are asleep at that time of day or would rather someone else pick up your shipping, tip your delivery people. It’s the decent thing to do.

  • Cynthia

    This is something I’ve always struggled with. I worked in restaurants and other service jobs when I was younger and am a firm believer in giving something extra in the way of a tip for great service and do this throughout the year. However, we have a modest income, and in thinking of all the service people I would like to thank I just become overwhelmed by what it would cost to give even a small holiday tip or gift. My kids each have six teachers, not including coaches, music teachers and teachers at church just for starters. We must be frugal at Christmas and even though we exchange with grandparents, we don’t do it with other members of our extended families. We do send out cards with our wishes for a merry Christmas, but we won’t be able to tip our service people extra this year.

  • Carolyn

    My paper delivery persons and hair stylist get tips from me and I also give a small gift to my church staff persons. That’s about it. My son, who has been job hunting for about 4 years now (how does he get a tip!!!) gets the biggest gift I can get on my limited income.

  • Katrina

    As a housekeeper, I cannot stress how much this matters. All us nannies, cleaners, service, and delivery people talk amongst ourselves about this. Your tipping habits say so much about the kind of person you are. It’s about SO much more than the money, which always welcome, it’s about being remembered and being valued. Not tipping will probably cost you much more than it’s worth- all that “above and beyond” service…..

    Can’t afford to tip? Then verbalize your deep appreciation, or better yet don’t eat out or order services for which you cannot budget in the extra!

    Unhappy with your service provider? This is not the time or place to express this.

    Not sure how much to tip? There are plenty of tipping guides online. I think it’s better to think of it as a year end bonus, rather than a Christmas gift- not everyone celebrates this holiday.

  • Ron

    Steve the Cynic wrote:

    “The larger question is why service workers aren’t paid what their worth by their employers, and why should the quality of service I receive from those workers depend on how much I tip? The cost of that service should be factored in to the price I pay the employer for whatever it is I’m buying.”

    I agree.

    It has been years since I worked in a service industry job, but I recall it being very tough work and feel I learned a great deal from it. But it is typically low paying work.

    We routinely tip generously throughout the year at restaurants, for haircuts, etc. and tip others at this time of year. That said, these people should not have to rely on that to supplement their income. I’ve seen friends who brag about giving a ten percent tip for a waiter/waitress who hustled and dealt with selfish and demeaning behavior. My guess is that these friends never had such a job, which is a shame.