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Stressing about the right amount to tip this holiday season? First of all, relax. As no less an authority than the Emily Post Institute notes, “It’s important to remember that holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you.”

That said, you don’t want to seem like a cheapskate -- nor do you want to blow your entire holiday budget on your tips.

The amount you give should be tied to the quality and frequency of the service you receive and to your relationship with the service provider. Do try to avoid buying into the thought that if you don’t tip you won’t get good service for the coming year: If you think you’ve had bad service for this reason, you should consider changing companies or providers.

Here are some holiday tipping suggestions:

  • Au pair or live-in nanny: One week’s pay and a gift from your kids.
  • Babysitter: One evening’s pay and a small gift from your children.
  • Day care provider: Cash ($25-$75) for each staff member who works with your children and a small gift from the kids themselves.
  • Housekeeper/cleaner: One week’s pay and/or a small gift.
  • Live-in help (nanny, cook, butler, housekeeper): Up to one week to one month of pay as a cash tip, plus a gift from you.
  • Nursing home employees: A gift that could be shared by the staff (flowers or food items).
  • Barber: Cash equivalent to one haircut
  • Personal trainer/Massage therapist: Cash up to the cost of one session
  • Newspaper delivery person: Cash $10-30
  • USPS mail carrier: May receive gifts of up to $20 (Note: This has been corrected.)
  • Superintendent/doorman: $20-80, but much more in big cities!
  • Trash/recycling collectors: Check city regulations if it is a municipal service, but generally $10-30 each
  • Yard worker/gardener: $20-50 each