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Holiday Tipping Guide: Who Should You Tip, And How Much?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It is the time of the year when we show our appreciation to those who make our lives easier.

If you're scratching your head about what or how much to give, CBS2's Thalia Perez sums it up.

It's the season of giving, and a nice thank you gift to those working in service industries goes a long way.

"It means a lot. It's good, you know, the appreciation," UPS worker Brian McClean told Perez.

"Makes me feel appreciated," doorman Gilbert Carmona said.

Etiquette expert Thomas Farley says the formula for figuring out who you should tip and how much isn't complicated at all. He said start with what you can afford, and then think about who has helped you get through the year.

"We know that those frontline workers have been very hit hard. They're perhaps still recovering financially from the hit that they took in 2020 when they literally weren't able to work," he said.

Holiday Tipping Etiquette, According To Mister Manners:

  • Doorman: $20 to $200 on average, depending on where you live
  • Building super: $20+
  • Porter: $20+
  • Building security: $20+
  • Valet: $20+
  • Ongoing, regular food delivery person: $20
  • Housekeeper: One week's pay
  • Nanny: One week's pay
  • Au pair: One month's pay, if paid monthly
  • Home health aide: One week's pay
  • Live-in health aide: Up to one month's pay
  • Hair dresser/barber: Equivalent to one service
  • Nail technician: Equivalent to one service
  • Massage therapist: Equivalent to one service
  • Dog walker: One week's pay
  • Pet groomer: Equivalent to one service
  • Pool cleaner/landscaper: Equivalent to one service, or one week if they come multiple times
  • Personal trainer: Gift
  • Teacher: Gift, either from child or whole class (providing this is allowed by school district)
  • Tutor: Equivalent to one service, or one week if they come more often
  • Mail carrier: Gift of no more than $20, per government regulations
  • Sanitation worker: $10 to $30 (more common in suburbs)

Farley said the gold standard for gratitude is a week's pay for weekly service providers, like a housekeeper or nanny, and the cost of a service for hair dressers, barbers, nail technicians and dog walkers.

He said tips for doormen, supers and porters depend on the building. On average, doormen receive anywhere from $20 to $200. The remaining building staff should get at least $20 each.

What if you're considering a gift instead of cash?

"Cash is king. No one is ever going to say, 'No, I'd rather not have cash,'" said Farley.

Watch: Expert Thomas Farley Breaks Down Holiday Tipping Advice 

For those living in the suburbs, he said the same rules still apply, except suburbanites have a little more property than city dwellers. So it would be the housekeeper, landscaper, sanitation workers and mail person.

"Don't neglect those working the night shift. Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they're not keeping the building safe and secure," Farley said.

Experts say some people are feeling a bit more generous and giving more this year than they usually do.

"We found that 45% of people are upping their tips around the holidays," said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst with

Rossman said don't be surprised if hairstylists and food delivery people see a jump in their holiday gratuities, too.

But if it's just not in the budget to give anything whatsoever, Farley has some suggestions.

"If you really don't even have the cash, you can truly never go wrong with a thoughtful card," he said. "Don't simply think, 'I'm going to avoid the doorman for the next four months because I'm embarrassed I didn't give a gift.' Give something. Maybe it's home-baked goods with a thoughtful card."

Remember, being thoughtful whichever way you choose is still in the spirit of things.

CBS2's Thalia Perez contributed to this report.

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