Posted by: Admin | December 16, 2009

Where’s My Tip?

Ok, so in my last post about budgeting for the holidays I mentioned that, even though I am unemployed, I will continue to buy gifts for the people in my life who are important to me.  I’m truly inspired by people who think of others during the holidays and I’m humbled by those that selflessly give of themselves to bring joy to other’s lives.  I don’t claim to be selfless and I don’t claim to be without ulterior motives.  As I mentioned, I give selfishly… not because I need or expect people to return the gesture but rather because I get my own happiness by buying someone the “perfect gift” and because I selfishly want to have a Christmas where my tree is surrounded by presents.  Because these things make ME happy!

I read an interesting article today on MSN Money The Fine Art of Holiday Tipping and, I have to admit I was saddened by the list of suggested gratuities.  Here’s a quote from the article that struke a chord with me.

“Many of us plan to spend less this holiday season. But far more of us plan to skimp on ourselves than intend to cut back on holiday tips for service providers….  The definition of thrift is economizing at your own expense. The definition of miserliness is economizing at someone else’s expense, which is what skipping holiday tips could easily be.”

The underlying message here is to give in the true spirit of giving.. which is to show people that you are thinking about them and that you appreciate them.  This message I buy wholeheartedly BUT, when I looked at the list of “who should get tipped at the holidays” I was somewhat saddened.

Here’s their list:

What upsets me is the fact that many of these folks get paid very well for providing services throughout the year.  Some of them work in industries where much of their compensation is based on tips but many of these folks work for very decent salaries, or hourly wages that provide them with a very good standard of living.  By putting together a list such as this, they are not only encouraging people to tip far too many people (in my opinion) but they are also setting an expectation for each of these folks that they are indeed ENTITLED to a holiday gratuity.  And, therefore anyone who doesn’t step up will look bad.  Let’s be honest, for every one person who is truly appreciative of an unexpected tip, there are 3 others who have an expectation for a tip

While I’m all about being thoughtful, by my math, if you tipped everyone on this list you’d be spending just shy of $300.  And, while the article does note that “holiday tipping, and gift giving in general, isn’t about going into debt”.  It really imparts the thought that you are some horrible, unappreciative person, if you haven’t given any thought to additional holiday gratuities. 

So, I’ll step off my soap box now and I’ll just leave you with this… 

Etiquette aside… if you are not in a position to tip, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so.  And, if you do want to recognize certain people (not necessarily the 15 or so noted on the MSN list) perhaps there are a couple of folks who would appreciate some freshly baked cookies, or maybe a nice hand drawn card from your kids!  Everyone is struggling this year and no one should EXPECT a tip this holiday season!



  1. I totally agree! Though I so send gifts to my children’s teachers, because i appreciate what they are doing trying to help me educate my kids, I have never been able to spend $20 on them! You know with 3 kids, theat would be $60 on teachers alone not to mention all the helpers! I have noticed that most teachers appreciate the small gestures of appreciation.

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