Yesterday I went for, what will surely be, my last hair appointment of 2008 and for sure the last one before Christmas. It hit me on the way there that I usually give her a little gift or something for Christmas and that I hadn't even thought about it. I was going to tip her double what I usually tip her, but frankly, I couldn't afford it. (Sidenote confession: Until I was about 25, I never tipped a hairdresser. I just thought you paid them what they asked and that was it. I only tipped waiters. And then, I was at a happy hour with friends and they were all "So how much do you give him on a color versus a cut?" and I was mortified. I made a hair appointment immediately following said happy hour and apologized for being a clueless country bumpkin. I used all my grocery money on hair and tips that day.) Wanting to do something, but not having alot of money or time, I just ran by this Mexican restaurant and got her a drink she likes. She is Guatemalan and has this secret rice milk drink she loves that only one restaurant serves. So I got her that, tipped her the usual 20% and moved on.
On the ride home, I turned up the radio, only to hear Russ Martin and Co. talking about how stupid holiday tipping is. As I listened, my face reddened. Once again, I was a clueless country bumpkin. I've made a list of the ones I remember from yesterday and then others I found online today. See what you think. (I've added my own commentary just to try to make myself feel better.)
Live-in Nanny - (If you can afford one of these, the tip probably isn't a big deal to you) - a cash gift equaling at least one week's pay, plus a nice additional gift from your child.
Regular Babysitter - One night's pay and small gift for child. If regular, weekly service, up to one week's pay. (I would die dead if the parents of the kids I babysit for gave me a week's pay for a gift. I'd return it after I picked myself up off the floor. For once, I'm thankful we don't ever have a babysitter.)
Daycare provider - $25-70 for each person who provides for your children and a small gift from your child. (Day-uhm. That could get pricey....)
Private nurse - small gift from you. (How come the babysitter gets a week's pay and the private nurse, who may change wounds and/or adult diapers, gets a small gift?)
Housekeeper - Up to the amount of one week's pay and/or a small gift. (Glad I don't have a housekeeper so she can't get pissed at me b/c my neighbor gave her a week's pay and I give her a Hallmark ornament.)
Hairdresser/Barber - Cash in the amount of haircut or service provided. ($125 gift for a cut and color? Mine got a milk drink. Poor her.)
Dog walker - One week's pay and/or gift. (Reason number 476 that we don't have a dog. Also, if you have a dog, but no time to walk it, how do you have time to enjoy a dog?)
Mail carrier - Small gift. (Um, my mail carrier has never gotten anything from me except insufficient postage on a package.)
Trash collectors - $20 each. (Again. They've never gotten anything from me but smelly diapers and rotting meat.)
Teachers - Small gift from your child, no cash. (This one burns me on a personal level. As a former teacher, I would venture to say that cash is the number one thing on a teacher's list. I got gift cards all the time when I taught Kindergarten and while I loved the kid-chosen gifts (Half used bottle of Jean Nate or stolen DVD from Kroger), I have to say it sure was fun to get Gap and Starbucks cards. I sure don't understand why a dog walker would get more than the person who gets paid virtually nothing to deal with kids with disabilities, behavior problems, injuries, accidents, etc. So don't skimp on the teacher gift. I am a loser on every category listed above, but I got Avery's teacher something pretty good. Not $100 or anything, but still better than a wooden apple with her name on it.)
Hope this list was useful. Besides making me feel more clueless and ignorant than ever, it also helped me realize why I don't have a gardener, babysitter, or dog.
Have a great day. (I'm off to the closet to find something for the mailman. Do thirtysomething young men enjoy half-burned Yankee candles?)