Holiday Tipping and Gifts: How Much to Spend on Whom?

Christmas is just around the corner. Most of us Moms are scrambling to get our holiday cards out and make sure our kids have just the right gifts. Oh, and there’s the hubs, too! Everyone needs a gift. Then it occurs to me there’s a whole host of people who make our lives work from babysitters to the guy who delivers our newspaper. They deserve a gift too.

Personally, the thought of missing someone on my gift list keeps me up at night. I’d hate for someone I really appreciate to feel unappreciated because I forget to put him or her on my list. But truth be told, I’m never really sure what or how much to give.  I want to do the right thing, especially for the special people in my family’s life.


Immediately, I consult the Internet. Doesn’t Google have the answer for everything? I search for “Holiday Tipping Guidelines” and click away. The information is helpful, but articles are mostly geared toward office gift giving suggestions. But what if your home is your office? That means your “employees” and “colleagues” are the people who help you take care of your house, your kids, and yourself. As a Mom, you’re the CEO of the household. It’s important your colleagues feel recognized and appreciated.

If there’s one source of information consistently better than my beloved Google, it’s my beloved Mom friends. So here’s what my gals had to say about holiday gift giving.



Nanny –Equivalent of 1 – 2 weeks salary and a gift. (And, time off!)
Regular Night-Time Babysitter –One night’s worth of pay
Letter Carrier –$20 or a gift card
Newspaper Delivery –$10 – $20
Gardener –1 week – 1 month’s pay
Poolman –about $50
Trash Pick-Up –$10 – $20

Some say to give a barber/hair stylist the equivalent of 50% of the price of one cut if they happened to be getting a haircut around the holidays, while others feel that they spend enough on haircuts, so the haircutter be getting them a gift!

The Moms with the best arms all had their yoga teacher, trainer or Pilates instructor on their list, with each getting a small gift or gift card. The dog owners had dog walkers on their list. And anyone with a kid who had a tutor or after-school teacher included them, too.

Everyone seemed equally conflicted about their children’s teachers. Many schools have a teacher gift policy that allows parents to contribute to a teacher gift fund that then gets dispersed amongst the staff. Some schools, like my own son’s, also allow parents to purchase individual gifts for the teachers, specialists and staff.  For all of us, these gifts seem to fall into the “nominal” or “personalized small gift” category with everyone opting to give the teachers a gift as opposed to cash.

Everyone agreed that the actual gift wasn’t as important as letting special people in their family’s life know how much they are appreciated. If that’s true, I’m adding one person to my holiday gift list, me! After all this gift list making and gift buying, I deserve one too. Any suggestions?

Who’s on your gift list this year?