Holiday gift guide: what to tip and what to give the caregivers in your life

The holiday season is a great time to show the ones who take care of you and your family how much you appreciate them. But what’s an appropriate present – and how much should you spend? Depending on the caregiver’s role in your life, the answer might not be so clear.

Cash is always a go-to choice (and very much appreciated) but there are instances when giving a personal gift is more appropriate, or when just a note will do. Use this holiday tipping guide to help you determine who gets what (and how much) this season.

Gifting around the holidays should be a time to spread the holiday cheer – not to be overwhelmed. This guide will give you the clarity you need and the merry feeling back.

Your boss
Maybe you don’t consider your boss a “caretaker,” and Emily Post says not to “gift up,” but if you consider your boss a mentor, a nice thank you card is a great token of appreciation. If you’re afraid others will make you look bad, consider a homemade specialty, a book, a bottle of wine, or organize a group gift with your coworkers.
Spend: Between $0 and $15

Hair stylist, waxer and manicurist
If you’re a regular with your “groomer,” tipping extra at the holidays is a wonderful boost, especially if she tends to squeeze you in for last-minute maintenance. Consider doubling your typical tip, or at least adding an extra 10 percent.
Spend: Between $10 and $100

Mail carrier
According to the USPS guidelines, cash is not allowed, but gift cards and small tokens of appreciation are okay.
Spend: Nothing over $20

Newspaper carrier
A gift card based around their interests is the way to go. Do they have a car? Go with a gas card. Is it a teen your son’s age? Consider iTunes or
Spend: Between $10 and $25.

Cash is tacky, but a gift card to help support their classroom is totally acceptable. Also consider a spa or restaurant certificate.
Spend: Between $25 and $100.

Bus driver
Imagine if carpool duty involved up to 30 rowdy kids – every day. That deserves a reward, right? Treat them with a gift card to a place everyone can find something, like Target, Best Buy or a local coffee shop.
Spend: Between $5 and $20

Tutor or coach
For specialized tutors, music teachers and coaches a small thoughtful gift is a great way to show your appreciation. Consider personal interests or style and find a matching scarf. If stuck, go with a gift card to iTunes.
Spend: Between $10 and $35

House cleaner
Thank them for getting dirty – so you don’t have to. If your housekeeper does double duty with the kids, include a kid-craft or homemade card.
Spend: One week’s pay

Pet caregivers
Wind, sleet, snow and heat. This caregiver walks, plays and picks up after your favorite four-legged friend(s). For the everyday dog walker, give a week’s worth of bonus money.
Spend: Between one day and one week’s pay

Nannies care for your kids and love them like their own. Along with a generous holiday bonus, include something sentimental from your family, like a nice pair of gloves, photo album or spa treatment.
Spend: Between one week and one month’s pay.

If she’s the reason you’ve had an occasional date night during the past few months, throw in an extra night’s pay or a gift card equivalent.
Spend: Between $25 and $75

Senior caregiver or housing attendant
A paid in-home attendant should receive a significant cash bonus. But for senior housing staff members, try movie, Target, or spa gift cards. And for family caregivers, offer a day of house cleaning or respite care to give their needs a break.
Spend: A day of your time, $20 gift cards for each staff member, or a week’s pay


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