“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” ― Barack Obama
With inflation still a concern for many and their ability to support families, the holidays may be the time to say a special “thank you” to those who help keep us and our families, homes and businesses on track, who keep our homes clean, help us stay fit, and help us in other ways to get through each day throughout the year.
Please be mindful that the message you intend may not always be obvious. Any giving should show appreciation and respect. Sometimes a smile, a kind word or even a note can really make someone’s day and have more lasting meaning than a Starbucks gift card.
For those you can’t tip, you can still make them feel appreciated
The Pandemic has made us more appreciative of first responders and health care workers. Many houses still display a sign with a red heart to say thank you.
You can also send letters of thanks directly to a local hospital, fire station or police department or send a meal or buy coffee. Check for any online bulletin board in your town, both to post a thank you note and to see if there are other ways to acknowledge your local first responders.
“Neither snow nor rain…”
Despite the weather, terrain or traffic, your mail carriers, FedEx, UPS and Amazon drivers deliver your mail and packages every day and ensure that your online purchases arrive on time and in good condition.
As you decide what and how much to give, check each particular company’s gift giving restrictions:
1. Mail carriers – are prohibited from receiving cash gifts and gifts of more than $20. Unfortunately, the limit has not increased for inflation.
2. Garbage and recycling pickup – depending on what municipal rules permit, we suggest $25-$35.
3. FedEx – employees are prohibited from accepting gifts, but a wave, a smile or a note would be nice.
4. UPS – workers are allowed to accept tips, but UPS discourages the practice.
5. Newspaper delivery – if you still get the news in print, a gift of $25-$35 is standard.
6. Amazon driver – we suggest the same as for newspaper delivery.
7. Food delivery and curbside pickup – again we suggest the same as for newspaper delivery.
Caregivers (for kids, parents and pets, too!)
Caregivers for your children, parents and pets can be lifesavers as they provide care, education, exercise, and attention to those you care about most. This is the time of year to let them know how thankful you are for all that they do. The amount of service they provide and the arrangement you have with them can dictate the appropriate gift level:
1. Nanny/au pair – a week’s salary and a small gift.
2. Daycare teachers – a $25-$75 gift.
3. Home healthcare worker – from one week up to a month’s salary. If tips are not permitted, consider cooking or baking something special. If the care is in a senior living or hospital setting, be sure to cover the whole shift.
4. Teacher – a small gift and a handmade card from your child. Note that a cash gift could be misconstrued as a bribe. You can pool resources with other parents for a gift card.
5. Dog walker – depending on your walker’s schedule, you may want to give a day’s pay or a full week’s pay.
6. Dog groomer – from half up to the full cost for a single service.
If you contract any of these services through an agency, you may want to contact the agency to find out if they have a gift-giving policy in effect. If the agency prohibits gifts, consider alternatives like making a donation to the agency or sending in homemade cookies to the office – or sneak a Starbucks card into their stockings.
Whether you live in a single-family home or a large apartment building, it’s likely there is someone who services your home or property in some way.
1. Trash and recycling collectors – a gift of $25-$35, which you may want to mail directly to the collection company if you can’t safely leave for the collectors.
2. Doorman – a gift of $25-$100, depending on their role this year.
3. Regular cleaning person – the cost of one visit.
4. Landscapers/gardeners – a gift of $25-$50 per person or if you have just one person doing the work, the cost of one visit.
5. Parking garage attendant – a gift of $25-$50.
6. Building’s handyman, superintendent and custodian – a gift of $25-$100.
If you have someone who always goes the extra mile, such as a handyman who’s prompt and efficient or a doorman who is quick to carry heavy packages for you, then a larger tip may be warranted.
It’s hard work keeping you fit, perfectly coiffed and beautiful, and ready to face the day. Now is a good time to show appreciation for those efforts, especially when they help you get that special appointment when you really need it. In deciding whether to tip and how much, consider this:
1. Hairdresser/manicurist – if you’re a frequent visitor, tip the cost of one visit. If you’re a less frequent customer, then $20. However, if you tip generously through the year, you do not need to give an extra tip at the end of the year. If multiple people work on your hair, divide the tip among them. And if any of them double as your therapist, add a bit more!
2. Personal trainer – up to the cost of one visit.
3. Massage therapist – also up to cost of one visit.
4. Golf or tennis instructor or sax teacher – a thoughtful gift.
If you’re unable to tip or give a gift, a thoughtful thank you note will acknowledge the good work these people do for you throughout the year.
Good feedback is appreciated by their supervisor as well as by the people who are helping you out.
Send a thank you note to the supervisors of the people who provide you with great service throughout the year, letting them know how impressed you are with the service their people provide.
If you have any more ideas, let us know!
Be safe and stay well!