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Who’s Receiving Holiday Tips?

Posted by Peter Post  December 17, 2013 07:00 AM

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‘Tis the season to say thanks and to acknowledge those who have provided you with service throughout the year. Every year at this time people ask about holiday tipping—a tradition that’s been around for a long time.

As you consider who you would like to tip, figure our just how much you can give this year and then share it out amongst those on your list. Most importantly, people should not feel obligated to give holiday tips if it’s simply not within their budgets to do so. The real importance of the holiday tip is saying thank you. A card with a heartfelt message is a perfect alternative.

The Emily Post Institute offers guidelines for holiday tipping, but I’ve often wondered who actually makes the holiday tip list and what they receive. So, The Emily Post Institute and SurveyMonkey conducted a holiday tipping survey in early December. The results are in and show most of us are still quite conscious of seasonal gratitude in the form of holiday tipping—61% of us, to be exact. We’re not spreading pre-recession levels of tipping cheer just yet, but we are intent on bestowing a little extra on those who help us throughout the year, be it a monetary tip or homemade gift or simply a hand-written note of thanks.

Specifics from the survey:


  • 61% of respondents give holiday tips.

  • 39% don’t tip, for a variety of reasons, including lack of awareness of this long-standing tradition, or because they have no essential service providers in their day-to-day life.

  • 27% of non-tippers say the reason why is because they tip regularly during the year.

  • 25% of non-tippers say they simply can't afford it.


The most tipped professions include:

  • Barber/beauty salon staff: 57% with the majority (46%) tipping $1-$25

  • Mail carrier: 46% with the majority (42%) tipping $1-$25

  • Newspaper Delivery: 38% with the majority (35%) tipping $1-$25

  • Trash collectors: 25% with the majority (21%) tipping $1-$25

  • Housekeepers: 23% of respondents tip and the majority (9.4%) tip $26-$50


Not all holiday gratitude is expressed with cash:

  • 7% of respondents don’t tip monetarily, and say that instead they give or make a gift.

Whether it’s cash, a card, or a gift, I encourage you to take a moment to say “thanks” this holiday season to those who make your life more pleasant or run more smoothly throughout the year.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."

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