Tip the trash collector? Etiquette experts say, ‘Yes’
For those who think they are done holiday gift shopping, or at least done planning their holiday gift lists, think again.
According to etiquette experts, some Americans forget to give holiday gifts or tip those who are part of their regular lives, be it their child’s teacher, the trash collector, a baby sitter or dog groomer.
But before you curse the etiquette experts for suggesting you spend more money in what may be a tight budget year, please, hear them out.
The holidays are an important time to acknowledge those who may never be thanked and you don’t have to break the bank to give them gifts, experts agreed.
“Sometimes, a heartfelt handwritten note will be worth more than all the money you could spend on a gift card,” said Leah Ingram, one of those etiquette experts.
Ingram, author of 12 books including “The Everything Etiquette Book,” has had articles published in Parade and InStyle magazines and has been interviewed on CNN and by The Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Ingram thinks service providers regularly involved in your life deserve to be acknowledged during the holidays.
For example, a child’s teacher deserves some sort of present such as a gift card or a note, Ingram said.
Again, showing appreciation doesn’t have to be elaborate.
“You don’t want to go out and get a teacher’s gift and feel buyer’s remorse. It’s supposed to be a good feeling. If you know you can’t spend what you wish you could, that’s where the handwritten note comes in,” Ingram said.
Jeff Kirtland, spokesman for School District 51, said the school district has a policy against the frequent giving of gifts by one child to a teacher. It also frowns on giving expensive or elaborate gifts to district personnel.
However, children giving small gifts to teachers during the holidays isn’t out of the ordinary, Kirtland said. It is wise for parents to check with a school district regarding a gift-giving policy.
But etiquette experts such as Ingram don’t think people should stop with teachers.
“What I sort of think the rule is, the service providers you deal with on a regular basis, it’s probably nice to recognize them on the holidays,” Ingram said.
Hairstylists, postal carriers and trash collectors are examples of professionals involved in people’s lives on a regular basis who deserve something extra during the holidays.
Some of those individuals may be municipal employees and, as is the case with school districts, municipalities may have policies about gift giving.
The city of Grand Junction doesn’t allow employees to accept gifts. A note to an individual trash collector or to a group of city employees would be acceptable, said Kristin Winn, spokeswoman for the city.
She doubted city employees often received any holiday “thank you’s” for their work.
How people choose to recognize baby sitters, dog walkers, delivery people, hairstylists and others is an individual decision, Ingram said.
For some people, it’s giving an extra monetary tip.
For other people, it’s something specific, such as purchasing a manicure for a daycare provider up to his or her knees in dirty diapers.
Giving and receiving holiday gifts should leave smiles on people’s faces, according to “The Etiquette of Holiday Tipping” by Dr. Jodi Stoner, a clinical psychotherapist, and Lori Weiner, a life coach.
“Remember, do only what you can afford,” the women wrote.