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You’ve made your list and checked it twice, but odds are you’re forgetting something. Mom and Dad are covered. So are your siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and dog — the most important of them all. What about all of the other people who deserve your love and affection? The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to show people outside your inner circle just how much you care.
To find out exactly who should be on your list and what you should be buying for them, we spoke to Manor of Manners founder Maryanne Parker, modern manners expert Jacquelyn Youst, etiquette expert Lisa Grotts, consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos and Nancy Kruger Cohen, the co-founder of small-batch artisanal food site Mouth. We also crowdsourced information from blogs frequented by people included in this roundup.
Disclaimer: If you don’t have the budget to give a generous tip or holiday gift, don’t. Gifting season can be stressful, and it’s easy to burn a hole in your wallet if you aren’t mindful of your money. Before you head to the store, make a list of everything you’re shopping for, including small stuff like ribbons and wrapping paper. If the total exceeds your budget, do not proceed. Financial health comes first.
“It’s perfectly acceptable to say thank you with a batch of cookies or even a handwritten note,” Gallegos told The Daily Meal. “What’s most important is to let the people know you appreciate their work.”
If you can find it in your heart (and also in your wallet) to show a little material gratitude toward those who help maintain various aspects of your life, read on for our guided suggestions on the people you should be buying a gift for, but aren’t.
This handyperson comes knocking at the drop of a hat to snake hair from the shower drain, caulk holes in the wall made by pesky mice and tame the radiator blasting fiery heat in mid-July. Consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos suggests showing your appreciation with a tip ranging from $25 to $70 depending on your budget and where you live. Gallegos says the higher amount is more appropriate in larger cities.
If your local coffee queen has your usual triple venti white chocolate mocha latte nonfat with no whipped cream in the works every morning before you even step foot in the shop, show her some love. Baristas on this Starbucks blog say special customers have given them a $20 bill or $10 Target gift card concealed by an envelope, and home-baked cookies to share with the rest of the team.
When you’re not changing dirty diapers, wiping tears or making airplane noises with a spoonful of pureed carrots, the babysitter is. To say thank you for all the date nights that would have been impossible without her, Gallegos says to gift the monetary equivalent of one day’s earnings. So next time she watches the kids, double the pay. You can even throw in a small present such as a candle, socks or gift certificate from your children.
Generally speaking, doormen appreciate cash gifts during the holidays. Gallegos says to tip anywhere from $15 to $80 depending on your budget and where you live. You could also join forces with other tenants to give your doorman a much larger gift of pooled funds.
As much as we’d all like to get a holiday bonus with our paycheck, that isn’t always the case. If you oversee a small team, don’t be afraid to get them stocking stuffers. Nancy Kruger Cohen, co-founder of small-batch artisanal food site Mouth, says she’s getting sriracha for the hot sauce lover, goat milk caramels for the sweet tooth and white cheddar caramel corn for the “flip flopping” snacker. Edible treats are always a great gifting idea!
If you have a hair appointment over the holidays, Gallegos says you should tip the cost of one session to the person who hides your grays, trims your dead ends and otherwise keeps your mop fresh and flawless year round. Other experts say it’s perfectly fine to simply double the 15 to 20 percent tip you usually give. When all else fails, baked goods or wine will do. If you don’t have a December appointment, you’re off the hook!
To thank your housekeeper for making your home tidy and sparkling clean, Grotts says to give them a gift equal to one service. So if he or she charges $75 per visit, give them $75 in the form of cash or a check. If this person has worked for you for several years, it’s OK to give them a larger tip.
If your grass needs maintenance in the summer only, you should give $20 to each worker for the holidays. If it needs attention year-round, consider giving up to $50 per worker, Gallegos says.
This person never fails to deliver newspapers, letters and packages through the rain, snow, wind and sleet. Manner of Manors founder Maryanne Parker lets her mailman know he’s appreciated by preparing a pie, box of chocolates and card, or nicely decorated food basket.
Similar to the babysitter, Gallegos suggests gifting the equivalent of one week’s to one month’s pay depending on the length of time he or she has cared for your children.
If you took advantage of colleagues who own boats and beach houses, or you crashed at a college friend’s house instead of overpaying for a hotel room, you might want to consider adding them to your list of recipients this year. “These people need to be thanked properly if you want to be asked back,” Cohen said. “My plan is to send them something that’ll keep them happy for a while — and keep me fresh in their minds until next year.” Cue a monthly subscription box. Those can get a little pricey though, so we’re sure a bottle of wine would do justice too.
If you spend a lot of time at the gym with a trainer and want to show that person gratitude, it’s appropriate to tip up to the cost of one session, Youst says. Thanks for the muscles!
Before giving anything to the garbage collectors, call the public works department or company they work for to make sure policy allows them to accept money or gifts. Once you get the go-ahead, Gallegos says to give $10 to $30 per person. After you’ve checked everyone off your list, take care of yourself — especially if you’re spending the season alone. Do it with a smile on your face using these 12 tips for surviving the holidays on your own.
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