‘Tis the season for giving—and tipping. Many of us don’t know who we should tip or how much. Can we give them a gift, if so, what? Here is a simple guide from AOL Living Holidash.com that answers those questions.

You’re not expected to give anything. But if you have a personal relationship with your letter carrier, or frequently receive packages from the same courier, give a small gift or a gift card for $20 or less. U.S. postal carriers cannot accept cash or checks in any amount or gifts worth $20 or more. FedEx doesn’t allow cash or a gift worth more than $75. UPS does not have a policy on accepting tips.

A gift or a gift card of $50 or more (separate from any end-of-year bonus). The value should reflect your position in the company as well as how long the assistant has been with you. Avoid perfume and clothing, says Hilka Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International, a business-etiquette firm in New York City. “If it touches the skin, it’s too personal for the office.”

Babysitter, Nanny
For a regular babysitter, cash or a gift equal to one or two nights’ pay. For a nanny, one to two weeks’ pay plus a gift, ranging from something your child made to a generous present. Give a gift she wouldn’t buy for herself, like a designer handbag, says Patricia Cascio, president of the International Nanny Association. Avoid kid-related presents; your nanny needs a break, too.

Day-Care Staff
A tip or a gift in the amount of $25 to $70. If only one person takes care of your child, give in the upper end of the range. Multiple employees? Give $25 to $70 each. Cash and gift certificates are the most popular. But take the time to add a card, says Laurie Kaufman, program director for All Aboard Childcare, in Ossining, New York.

It’s not necessary to give your boss a gift, says Klinkenberg. But if you do, make it small and simple (less than $50), like a Fred Flintstone cookie jar you found on eBay if he is a fan. Give a group gift instead. “I prefer that everyone chips in a small amount,” says Klinkenberg. “Then it’s a token of appreciation, not a bribe.” Take him to a group lunch at his favorite restaurant.

Dog Walker
A tip or a gift equal to one week’s service. Tips are more common, but gifts, like a down vest for chilly walks, are thoughtful, says Julia Frink, founder of Dogwalks.com, in San Francisco. “Dog walking really takes a toll on your hands and feet,” says Frink. So give gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, or massages. “Even my male dog walkers like them,” Frink says.

Hairstylist, Manicurist, Salon Staff
If you’re an infrequent customer getting a holiday trim, double your usual tip. If you’re a regular client, give a tip or a gift equal to one visit. If your stylist is a friend, give a more personal gift. “I’ve gotten wine, baked goods – even silver and crystal,” says Mark Goodman, owner of Hair Designers salon, in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

House Cleaner, Gardener, Pool Cleaner
A tip equal to the cost of one service, or a week’s pay if your housekeeper or gardener comes more often. If your pool is closed for the season, or if you use a service that sends someone different each week, you don’t need to tip for the holidays.


Newspaper Carrier
A tip equal to one month of the subscription price. If your carrier doesn’t leave a self-addressed envelope, most companies allow you to include a tip when you pay your bill. Paperboys (and girls) are all grown- up. According to the Newspaper Association of America, these days 80 percent of carriers are adults. So give more than just ice cream money.

A handwritten thank-you note or a small gift costing less than $25. Gifts are less common in middle and high school because students tend to have five or more teachers. The national PTA interviewed teachers and found thank-you notes ranked as their favorite gift; edible treats were the least desirable. Gift cards for bookstores and coffee shops also rated well.

Now you know!