FAQs: Holiday Tipping

For today’s FAQ, I’d like to ask you a question: What is the right amount to tip for the holidays?

If you live in New York or maybe any place in America, you’re probably familiar with the old service tradition of giving some kind of gift to all the folks who affect your lives daily with their services–like mail people, doormen or ladies, superintendents, etc.

I think this is a great way to say “thank you” for the holidays. However, I also feel like it’s getting a bit out of hand.

Recently, on my way to work, I was stopped by my lovely mail lady.

With a sweet smile, she approached me to find out how come I only gave her $100 while I gave the UPS man $300. (By the way, they both received the same amount.)

I was so taken aback I had no answer.

Later, I thought of 101 answers I should have said, like for instance, “Well, you can give back your $100 if you’d like.”

I think any holiday gift is just that, A GIFT. They should come from one’s need to say thank you.

This year alone I received the following envelopes with requests for gifts (Can you believe this? They actually sent me a Christmas card with their names and a reminder to give a gift as if I wouldn’t remember):

My home building: 8 names of building porters.

My home: 8 names of different doormen/ladies and 1 mailman.

My office building: 5 names of different building porters. 1 mail delivery lady. 1 UPS delivery guy.

This is not counting the Christmas bonuses for all the folks who work for me which, of course, I gave gladly.

Yes folks, Christmas is a great time for giving. However, how do you decide on the right amount not to offend anyone? Or, should you just buy a present and avoid the most desire present “cash”?

What is your opinion on this subject?

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  • http://www.thefrenchbouquettulsa.com/blog Savannah (Pearls and Pages)

    Wow! I’m very surprised at this post. It just baffles me that anyone would straight up expect a gift, and after receiving one, complain about it? I would have been so stunned, too, Preston. Perhaps the season of giving needs to be examined a bit here.

    A gift is never something given with an expectation of something due in return. It’s something given from the heart, therefore it’s nothing to be expected much less complained about.

    One of my favorite fun holiday movies with the man who makes me laugh and laugh, Tim Allen, is “Christmas with the Kranks.” At the end of the film when he gives a fabulous gift to a needy couple he tells them that he doesn’t want anything in return, no matter how expensive the gift may have been. That is exactly what it is– a gift– no strings attached, requirements to be made, expectations, returns… nothing.

    A gift is a gift. Always give, never expecting to receive. The same goes with the shoe on the other foot. Never expect and when you do receive, be absolutely grateful. It never had to be given to begin with, after all. :) I think people need to step back and think about just what a gift is all about. They should appreciate it more then.

    Merry Christmas, Preston and everyone at PB who do a fabulous job keeping all of us informed and in-the-loop via the fabulous site and blog! Love the open comment sections. It’s a never-ending gift for me, I will say. :) Cheers!!

    -Savannah

    The French Bouquet: http://www.thefrenchbouquettulsa.com/blog

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  • http://www.alaricflowers.com Lena Yelagina

    In my building (in Manhattan as well) there are 63 people working as doormen, concierges, porters, securities, handymen etc. I gave only to people i actually see ( I have never seen any engineers or securities in my life), which still added up to about 30. My range was from 80 to 200, depending on how helpful they were throughout the year.
    If they did only what they were supposed to – they got their minimum, if went out of the way – more.

    I hope it was helpful. I never know how much other people give and just give a bit more than the year before.

    Lena