Lunchtime poll - holiday tipping
December 1st, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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The tree is trimmed. The halls are decked. The gifts are wrapped. The list has been checked - twice, even.

Then you remember Matt at the local watering hole, who knows how to make a gimlet sing.  And master oyster shucker Carl at the neighborhood fish counter, who has saved your digits from meeting their gruesome death time and time again.

OH, and what about the maître d' at that little Italian joint you love, who always seems to find a table for you on a full night? And crap, the smiley barista that has your 160-degree skim, no whip, decaf mocha awaiting every morning at 7:45 on the dot.

Figuring out how much to tip and who to tip during the holidays can be as stressful as dealing with the in-laws. Here's a few tips of our own (Editor's Note: Granted, we live in New York, which just happens to be one of the tip-happiest places in the world. Not how you tip in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments.):

– Focus on the people whose business/service you use on a regular basis and are in contact with. There's no need to assume you have to give everyone you've ever encountered at the grocery store a monetary gift.

– $20 to $50 is pretty standard. Depending on your level of interaction, use the higher or lower end of this spectrum. For example, the barista who you don't the name of but still provides a daily service would get $20. Whereas the bartender who knows your life story and asks about the kids, would receive more. If you're still unsure, ask around your neighborhood and see what other people have tipped.

– Use your words, and include a thank-you note. It's just good manners.

That being said, we want to know:

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Filed under: Bite • Buzz • Lunchtime Poll • Restaurants • Tipping

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Haakan

    Can someone suggest a tip for a super and doormen in NYC (upper east side)?

    Just moved to NY 5 months ago and don't want to ask others in the building. What is the standard?

    December 2, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  2. Caroline

    I do tip the super of my building, because he has come to my rescue a couple of times. My hairdresser gets double her usual tip, same with any other service pro I see on a regular basis. My local bartender makes way too much money off me during the year, so he gets a gift. I also gift the receptionist(s) where I get my hair, nails, eyebrows done, because I believe in taking care of the people that take care of me.

    December 2, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  3. Tom

    The article only suggests and not a requirement to tip. So if you want to tip then please do and if you do not then don't. No need to make a big deal of any situation.

    December 2, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  4. Elyse

    I've waitressed in my youth and needed those tips, especially at the holidays, and for most of my career I worked as an R.N. in critical care,(where tips are not expected),and I made a good salary. And now fortunately, I'm a stay at home mom married to a professional who is lucky enough to provide us with a good income. However some of those everyday people are the working poor. Someone asked what difference should the holidays make in regard to tipping? Well, for some of these folks, like "the doorman" it might mean the difference in buying their kids extra winter clothes, or Christmas/ Hannukah gifts

    December 2, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  5. dee

    We tip the garbage collectors (2) $50 each and also give them a small gift such as an ornament. The guy who collects our recycling curbside likewise gets $50. and a gift. And they deserve more for all they do all year in all kinds of weather. Even more so because they can't get us a better table etc... but because they do their job day after day, without any acknowledgment or fanfare. i leave a note on the cans asking them to come to the door and then I give them their card and gifts. Why wait until Christmas, sometimes a bottle of cold water or hot drink brought out to them is appreciated.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  6. jillmarie

    I don't have any service professionals I see on a regular basis. We tipped the garbagemen $20 last year. I would'nt know how to tip the newpaper delivery person, as I never see him/her. It's really just a Sunday delivery. Anyone have any ideas on this?
    I almost never go to the same hairdresser twice, and rarely during the holidays, and don't frequent bars or cofeehouses. We do give a little extra when we dine out around the holidays.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  7. crys142

    i usually just tip my regular bartenders more during the holidays.

    Do need to figure out something for my doorman though. I hate giving cash so maybe a bottle of wine.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Cindy

      Hopefully you know him well enough to know whether or not he's a recovering alcoholic. Wouldn't want to really spoil the holidays. Just sayin'.

      December 1, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  8. Sir Biddle@Jerv

    *bows* I try

    December 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  9. Sir Biddle

    Anyone know the proper tip for the attendant at the Golden Touch Massage Parlor?

    December 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Jerv@SB

      Sir Bid is Sir Bad! LOL! Like the way you think and stir siht up.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Sir Biddle@jhud,Thomas

    Its all about your personal preference and relationships you have with people. If you have a good report with someone, then giving a little something extra this time of year is not out of the ordinary. Think of it as the end of year bonus you may get. No one is putting cold steel to your skull to give more.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Truth@Biddle, jhud, Thomas

      I'm with Biddle on this one..I really like my haristylist. I've been going to her for eight years and she always does a great job, so she gets fifty bucks extra every December. My mailman, otoh, I could not identify if I tried. No tip, as s/he is doing what they get paid for. To me, it all comes down to the degree of the relationship you have with the provider.

      I agree with the article though. I am originally from NY, and it does get downright silly at this time of year.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  11. Thomas

    I tip well everytime they provide me the service. So now I have to pony up more?

    When will it stop?

    Great, so now everyone who ever saw us will now have their hand out.

    Well any left over money goes to charity. Sorry, you will just have to accept my usual 20-30% tip every time through the year.

    Lemme guess, this was writting by someone who gets tips.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  12. jhud

    why would I tip more bc it's a holiday? I dont' get paid more at my job this time of year. I tip based on a service, and I tip well when I receive those services...but I don't see a point in random tipping just bc it's that time of the year. We all work hard, not just industry people.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  13. Jdizzle McHammerpants from "The Facility"

    How 'bout a mushroom tip for everyone?

    December 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • AuroraDawn

      LOL Glad you're back.

      December 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • Sir Biddle@truth

      Great minds, great minds as that is exactly where my mind went when I read the subget line. Just didn't have the balls to post it.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Snowbunny

      Works for me!! HA! :)

      December 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  14. LTBD

    Hairstylist! But it's challenging to add a (deserved) $50 Christmas tip onto an already triple-digit hair makeover.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  15. Gratuitous Suckup-ee

    I like you Gratuitous Suckup!

    December 1, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Gratuitous Suckup

    The real travesty is that no tip would suffice for those dedicated professionals who manage the Eatocracy blog site that we all enjoy each day...!

    December 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
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