CHICAGO — The holiday season is approaching and your shopping list is growing. Do you really have to get gifts for all these people?
If you want to maintain a cordial relationship with the service providers (not to mention friends and family) in your life, then you should give a gift or tip.
And, it's the nice thing to do.
"It's definitely nice to give gifts or tips to service providers around the holidays," said Nancy Connolly of the Etiquette School of Chicago. "It's certainly not required."
Any service provider who has been in your life for more than two years should get some sort of holiday bonus, according to Akilah Easter, a Lawndale-based etiquette coach.
To make your life easier, Easter said she prefers giving cash or gift cards: "I prefer a monetary gift. You can give the exact amount of a service," she said. "They get tips all the time, so it's not taboo.
But you're not off the hook that easily — Easter suggests making the monetary gift personal and memorable by choosing a gift card to a store you know they like or using a greeting card or chocolates as a vehicle for the gift.
"Personalize it. Don't just give them cash," Easter said.
Here's what Easter said you should get for the people who make your life a bit easier:
Doorman: "Definitely tip them if you want to keep getting your packages," Easter said. She said $25-40 is fine, but of course it depends on how fancy your building is.
Hair Stylist: An amount equal to the cost of one visit. But this is one of the few service providers you tip regularly, so take that into consideration.
Baby Sitter: A gift worth as much as what you pay for one night out, or possibly more depending on how often you use the sitter.
Mail Carrier: Legally, your postman cannot accept a cash tip, but they can accept gifts under $20, Easter said. She suggested some gloves or a hat to stay warm during the winter months.
Nanny: A week's pay if they are there every day or live with the family, Easter said.
Dog Walker: A gift equal to one service.
Personal trainer: A gift equal to the cost of one session.
Child's teacher: Check the rules of the school. Teachers get a lot of junk during the holidays. A gift card in an amount the kid could reasonably afford is enough, Easter said.
Building Superintendent: $50-100
Handyman: A gift equal to the cost of an average house call.
Not everyone should receive gifts, Easter said. Professionals like lawyers and doctors don't need gifts, and salon and other business owners shouldn't take a gift either, she said.
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