Giving a holiday tip is a wonderful way to showcase your appreciation towards people who provide a service to you on a regular basis throughout the year, but figuring out who you need to tip can be confusing. If you tipped everyone who had done anything for you over the span of a year, you'd go broke. Because the rules are so unclear, we've gathered some basic guidelines for tipping your professionals during the holidays.
Giving an extra tip during the holiday season to whatever beauty professionals you work with on a regular basis is standard protocol. This includes hairstylists & colorists, waxing technicians, manicurists, eyebrow specialists, massage therapists, facialists and personal trainers. A good rule of thumb is that anyone whose income is reliant at least partially on tips, is someone you should give a little extra to during the holidays. However, it should only be professionals you see regularly—if you only get a facial once or twice a year, don't feel obligated to tip extra to someone you barely know.
Advice on how much to tip varies widely, but plan on tipping about an additional ten percent on top of your usual tip when you go in for a service. If you don't normally tip at all, give them a tip or a gift that's equivalent up to the cost of one appointment.
This same advice pertains to the people outside of your beauty team, such as your dog walker or doorman. But while in some parts of the United States, cash tips are the norm for non-beauty professionals, in other parts giving cash is uncommon. Instead, patrons gift baked goods or small items. Generally, the more urban the area is, the more likely it is you should tip in cash. Elsewhere, a gift card, a nice bottle of sparkling wine, or something homemade will suffice. If tips aren't the norm, a bag of homemade cookies will show your gratitude for the past year.
To be clear: prior to deciding who to tip and how much, you should determine if you can afford it. You should never feel obligated to give a holiday tip, especially if you're suffering the effects of an economic downturn. People who work in the service industry will tell you that "tips are never expected, but always appreciated." If you find yourself unable to afford a holiday tip or gift, but still want to give something, a card with a handwritten note is a cost-effective way to show appreciation.
Your serviceperson won't begrudge you, because in a difficult economy, just having a regular customer to count on can be a gift in itself.