How Should You Handle Holiday Tipping This Year?

Tipping at the holidays is one way to thank the postal workers, door personnel, and landlords (the good ones) for their hard work throughout the year. And while some services have slowed down (dog walkers, babysitters, and hairstyling, for example), it doesn’t mean your appreciation for them should, too. Here are some tips for tipping at the holidays this year.

If you can, beef up your tips this year
Your hairdresser and nail technician are probably operating on much lower revenue than expected this year. In particular, small businesses have been hit hard, with 43% closing temporarily during the pandemic. If you generally tip your hairdresser, dog walker, or babysitter, you can still tip them despite the reduced interactions this year. If you have the financial means, tip double the amount you usually would to help make up for your reduced business. (Personally, I’ve been tipping 20% just for food delivery.) If you’re wondering who might expect tips and how much you might offer them, we have a guide here.

Tip with contactless payment options
Contactless payment has increased during the pandemic to help with lowering the risks of transmission. (Also, there was a major coin shortage). If you want to slide a tip to your doorman this year, consider doing it digitally. Payment apps like Zelle, Chase QuickPay, Venmo, and CashApp are some of the platforms available for transferring funds electronically. Each app has different functions; for example, CashApp has a minimalist interface for easy transfers and Venmo incorporates likes, comments, and emojis similar to a social media platform.

You can attempt to search each platform for the person’s payment information, but you run the risk of sending money to someone else who shares your landlord or dog walker’s name. Ask the individual which they prefer, in case one works well with their bank or personal situation.

Use money order or check if digital payment isn’t possible
In case someone you want to tip does not have electronic payments set up, or you want to give them something in hand, there are other physical payment options besides cash.

Checks still exist (though you might need to look deep in your closet to find them), which can be an alternative to cash or digital transfer. You can order them online to be sent directly to the individual by mail to avoid going out to the bank; keep in mind the procedures vary depending on the bank, and fees might apply, so be sure to check with your bank. (You’ll also need the individual’s address if you don’t already have it.)

Money orders avoid some of the hassles of sending checks by mail and are the closest to cash in hand. You can purchase money orders at any local post office, and fees are based on the ordered amount. Consider purchasing several money orders at once and addressing them accordingly, and pairing them with a thoughtful note or holiday card.


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