Dec 17, 2021 - News

How Minnesotans tip service workers for the holidays

Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

'Tis the season for generosity and goodwill, and many of our fine readers are getting in the giving spirit.

Driving the news: More than 75% of those who responded to our holiday tipping survey plan to give a cash bonus or a gift to a service worker in their life.

Why it matters: From child care providers to delivery drivers, these neighbors make our lives better, often for relatively low pay. Many faced pay cuts or work closures during the pandemic.

  • A tip or gift is a great way to show your appreciation while helping someone out during an expensive season.

The baselines: The gift sizes reported by readers ranged from $3 (newspaper delivery person) to $200 (house cleaners/hairdressers). Averages for some of the most-tipped professions netted out at:

  • Mail carrier: $23.
  • Child care worker: $64.
  • Teacher: $46.
  • House cleaner: $99.
  • Hair stylist: $47.
  • Newspaper delivery person: $30.
  • Pet groomer: $33.

Plus: Baristas, dog walkers, dry cleaners, sanitation crews, physical therapists and locker room cleaners at the Y were among some of the other professions on readers' to-tip list this year.

Beyond cash: While money and gift cards were the most popular picks, others give cookies (including to their go-to bartender!), canned nuts or homemade cards.

  • We loved the idea of putting out a cooler with drinks and treats for delivery drivers. Just don't let it freeze overnight!

What you're saying: "My mother was a cleaning lady and worked hard all year for others to make ends meet for us," one reader wrote. "Holiday tips were how she afforded extras at Christmas for her family."

Of note: It's never a bad idea to check employer policies or chat with neighbors to avoid running afoul of rules or customs.

  • USPS, for example, sets a limit of $20 and has a no cash gifts rule.
  • One reader also asked about the best way to tip a garbage or recycling collector. Here are some ideas for that.

The bottom line: If you can afford it, consider giving a tip — or even a thoughtful thank you — to someone who made your life better this year.

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