Vacation Tips for Homeowners - The New York Times

Q: I moved to the suburbs this summer from a Manhattan co-op. For the first time in many years, I didn’t have to tip a porter or buildi...


Q: I moved to the suburbs this summer from a Manhattan co-op. For the first time in many years, I didn’t have to tip a porter or building staff. But, surely there must be people in my new community waiting for a vacation envelope. Should I tip the sanitation workers? The postman ? My gardener? Who else? And how much?

A: When you live in an apartment in New York City, the list of vacation tips is usually obvious – and often handed to you by the building management. In a private home, you can make your own list.

Before you decide who to tip and how much to tip, budget for what you can afford this year. “There is no exact amount” that is expected of you, said Diane gottsman, an expert in etiquette. “Don’t feel like you have to tip more than you can afford, because a tip is a gift.”


At the top of your list should be everyone who regularly looks after you and your home – a handyman, a housekeeper, a dog walker, a nanny, a gardener, and a newspaper delivery man. The standard tip for these service workers would be the equivalent of what you would normally offer for a week of service, Ms. Gottsman said. So if you’re paying your housekeeper $ 100 a week to clean your house, tip accordingly, assuming your budget allows. This is also the season to be more generous with your tips to the people who deliver groceries and take out meals to your door.

Some companies have limits on tips, so check the rules before handing out your envelopes. U.S. Postal Service Employees, for example, can accept gifts up to a value of $ 20, but not cash or gift cards. FedEx drivers can’t accept cash or gift cards at all, but they do accept snacks left for them, according to the company. UPS drivers are asked to decline monetary gifts, but accept other tokens of appreciation, such as socks, mittens, baked cookies, and cards. “I was a driver and I always have a scarf that someone knitted for me,” said Dan McMackin, a UPS spokesperson. Other deliverers who bring packages must also be recognized. If you are unsure of their company’s policies, just ask first. Some people also leave a basket of packaged snacks and bottled water as a thank you. If you want to tip government employees or contractors, like sanitation workers on your route, ask your local municipality if cash gifts are allowed.

Beyond your home, there are also other people to consider. If you have children and they go to school or daycare, ask the school how they handle Christmas presents. People often give their hairdressers and manicurists a holiday gift.

No matter what you donate, whether it’s a small box of chocolates or an envelope filled with cash, include a handwritten note. “Don’t just give someone money,” Ms. Gottsman said. “You want it to be something happy. You want to show gratitude. You want to thank.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Vacation Tips for Homeowners - The New York Times
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