Who Should Get A Christmas Tip? And, Should You Stiff Your Mailman?

by Hank Coleman

Every year I write an article about how I am not going to tip my mail carrier for the holidays. I’m not a fan of tipping my mailman, garbage man, teachers, or a long list of folks. I typically take a lot of heat in the comment section for my anti-Christmas tipping philosophy.

There are several reasons that I refrain from tipping certain people in my life like my mailman, but there are those that I go out of my way to tip such as my housekeeper, my barber, and my guitar instructor.

A List Of Popular Holiday Tipping

Every year the major publications publish their lists of holiday tips and holiday tipping guide on how you should consider giving to these people in your life during Christmas and the holidays. The following are part of the holiday tipping guide that appears originally in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

  • Baby Sitter - One to two nights’ pay is about right for a baby sitter
  • Cleaning Person - The cost of one visit is considered fitting
  • Dog Walker - Tip your regular dog walker up to a week’s pay.
  • Hairstylist - The normal cost of a visit would be a nice tip for a stylist you see regularly.
  • Letter Carrier - The U.S. Postal Service forbids mail carriers from accepting cash, and says gifts must be under $20 in value.
  • Newspaper Delivery Person - Consider giving $10 to $30, unless you tip regularly throughout the year.
  • Nursing Home Worker - A personal gift such as homemade cookies or fudge
  • Personal Trainer - $50 or up to the cost of a session
  • Your Child’s Teacher - Small gift, accompanied by a note or drawing by your child
  • Trash Collectors - Tip each of your trash $10 to $30.

People I Personally Hired Get A Christmas Tip

One rule of thumb that I use in my own holiday tipping guide is whether or not I hired the person. I typically do not give a holiday tip to my garbage man, mail carrier, teacher, and the like.

I do enjoy giving a holiday gift or tip to people that I have hired to help me such as my housekeeper, gardener, guitar instructor who gives me lessons, and others. I really wanted the services that these people provide, and that is why I sought them out to hire them. These are the types of people that I give a holiday tip to during Christmas time.

Those Whose Salaries Depend On Tips

I am a big proponent of tipping people whose salary predominantly depend on receiving tips. Those of course are people whose jobs are food servers, hair dressers, and the like. These are the people who need tips or extra tips during the holidays. These are the people with jobs that we should support with other additional tips.

Your mailman does not need a holiday tip. He or she make enough as it is. Even the independent contractors who deliver rural mail earn 100% of their salary from their salary, and no tips are expected. If your mail carrier goes above and beyond the call of duty such as checking on the elderly and the like, then there may be a reason for a tip during the holidays.

Maybe my mail carrier is an innocent bystander who is caught up in my dislike for the USPS and the actual post office’s service. There is a reason why they require a bailout from the federal government every year thanks to their leadership’s poor mismanagement. But, I digress…

What about you? Are you giving your mail carrier a holiday tip this year? How much are you giving? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. Go ahead…I’ve got thick skin.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 528 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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