Skip to navigationSkip to content

What’s your holiday tipping etiquette? Thousands told us their plans

United Parcel Service worker Ryan Hewitt uses a sled to make deliveries through snowy conditions in Minneapolis, December 22, 2010. Today is the busiest delivery day of the year for UPS.
Reuters/Eric Miller
Special deliveries for your special deliverers
  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Four in ten Americans tip extra during the holiday season—providing a monetary ‘thank you’ to those not tipped any other time of year. Recipients tend to include doormen, building supervisors, mail carriers, trainers, dog walkers, and stylists. Many in the service industry rely on these tips as a necessary year-end bonus.

It’s a time to be generous. It’s also a time when would-be tippers fret over how much to give.

Quartz teamed up with SurveyMonkey to ask Americans about their holiday tipping habits. We surveyed 3,069 adults in the US between November 30 and December 4, 2018. Look no further than our data below to determine a suitable tip for those near you who make the rest of the year easier.

How much to tip a barber or beauty salon staff

The largest portion of folks who tip during the holidays are those who give to their barber or stylist. One in three plan to tip their stylists, with the majority of those tipping under $30. Keep in mind, the data include both men and women, and many determine tips by cost of the cut.

Nearly 40% of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they will tip their stylist this holiday season, more than any other age group.

How much to tip mail carriers

Mail carriers are civil servants, and as such must comply with government tipping regulations. According to the United States Postal Service, “Carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount.” Still, nearly a quarter of respondents said they tip their mail carriers during the holidays, and the average amount is $31.

Respondents over 55 were more likely than any other age group to tip their mail carrier, though that’s likely a result of home ownership. Thirty percent of people who own a home said they tip their mail carrier, compared to 17% of those who rent.

How much to tip trash collectors

Fourteen percent of respondents said they pass some cash to their neighborhood garbage collectors. Similar to mail carriers, those who own their home are more likely to tip this group.

How much to tip housekeepers

Twelve percent of people surveyed said they will tip their housekeeper during the holiday season. The range of tips given is wide—likely reflecting the varied work performed—but popular amounts include twenties, fifties and hundreds.

How much to tip babysitters, nannies, childcare provider, and domestic workers

One in ten Americans plan to gift money to a babysitter, nanny, or other form of childcare. Similarly to housekeepers, the range of giving is significant. Sixteen percent of those who tip their childcare provider plan to give monetary gifts greater than $110 dollars. Some of the surveyed respondents gave a few hundred dollars others gave into the thousands.

How much to tip dog walkers, doormen, and supers.

Respondents tipped other service professionals as well. Dog walkers are tipped by 5% of our survey, an average of $79. Building staff are tipped by few, but supervisors or managers have the highest average of our study, $114. Doormen are tipped an average of $72.

Overall, those who live in the city are more likely to tip during the holidays than those in rural areas—45% compared with 35%. By the same ratios, Democrats are more likely to tip at this time than Republicans.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.