Do you tip generously during the holidays? Here’s how much you should tip Image Credit: RODNAE Productions/Pexels

You're likely planning to give some extra monetary credit, or the amount worth in gifts, to family and friends this time of year. But what about the person that routinely delivers to your home or your babysitter?

If you haven't already, consider showing appreciation, in the form of a monetary tip or otherwise, for your service providers with either a gift or bonus gratuity – whatever makes financial sense to you.

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After all, now is the time to “say ‘thank you’ and wish people well for the next year,” said US-based Lizzie Post, who hosts a podcast called ‘Awesome Etiquette’.

The kind sentiment around gifting and tipping is clear, sure, but the specifics can be confusing. How much do you give, and to whom? And what if the idea of shelling out more cash around the holidays makes you more frustrated than usual?

Tipping culture in the UAE
How much should you tip? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Rules for tipping – otherwise known as gratuity – vary by country, by region, and by scenario, and you may be in a country wherein tipping is customary and required, appreciated but not expected, or virtually unheard of.

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You'll find all your answers to these questions below, but first, let's discuss timing. It’s okay if you didn’t get your tips, gifts and notes delivered by Christmas, and its fine if you are running behind. Shoot for some time around the new year.

Who should receive your generous gratuity, and how much?

Show your financial generosity to the service providers you see consistently – at least four or five times throughout the year, said Crystal L. Bailey, director of ‘The Etiquette Institute’, an international etiquette training institution based in the US.

These are typically people “who you developed a closer professional relationship with, whose services you greatly appreciate,” she added.

Gifts or tips may also be appropriate for child care professionals, teachers, housekeepers, personal trainers and dog walkers. “That list is going to be a little different for everybody,” Post said.

So think about who's regularly helped you out – like your building manager or supervisor if they've had to unlock your door several times.

Tips, tipping
Tip people whom you pay directly.

Tip people whom you pay directly. For example, say you typically give a provider cash or pay electronically with a card swipe or an app. Bailey said its fine to use the same payment methods to leave them a large year-end tip.

How much to tip depends on your finances and what you're comfortable giving. If your every-other-month service expense alone comes to $80 (about Dh300), experts suggest that your tips can start at 30 per cent of that amount and can work its way up.

Bailey further opined that you could double your typical tip, if your finances permit you to do so. However much you give, put that money in a card with a note of your gratitude, added Post.

What kind of gifts do you give your service providers?
Gifts and gift cards are better for providers you don't pay directly. You wouldn't give your kid's teacher cash, for example, but Bailey opined that a gift card would be fine.

For extra credit, go with a gift card for a nearby restaurant, she added, which makes the gesture more personal and supports a local business.

Consumables can make good gifts, too, according to both Bailey and Post. A plate of cookies, for example, works particularly well as a shareable group or staff gift.

To avoid wastage, of both money and resources, try to avoid personalised gifts that take up a lot of space, Bailey further added, as well as personal items, such as clothes or scents.
What if I can't afford tips and gifts?

What if I can't afford tips and gifts?

All this year-end generosity isn't meant to break your budget, Post said. And while these tips and gifts are customary, she added, “they're not guaranteed bonuses.”

If giving all this money is stressful (or not feasible), Post suggested you think about what works for you. Maybe you give no tips or gifts this year. Or perhaps you give to only a few providers. In that case, “prioritise who has been invaluable to you this year,” Post further opined.

Words can go a long way, too, she added. Always write a note, whether you tip someone or not. If you typically give a large year-end tip but can't afford it this year, Post suggested briefly explaining that in the note. Otherwise, your provider may wonder if they did something wrong.

For the rest of the note, Post added, don't overthink it. Thank the provider for their wonderful service, she says, and wish them well for the year ahead.