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Holiday Bonuses, Gifts & Tips

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Holidays and Special Events > Holiday Bonuses, Gifts & Tips


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Gifts for the housecleaner, mailman and garbage man

Dec 2011

I checked the archives and the last suggestion is from 2003, so I thought I'd ask for current recommendations. What do you tip/gift your house cleaner, the mailman and the garbage man for Christmas? Thanks! want to be thoughtful


I don't have a housecleaner, but figure her/his gift should be more significant than the others. Our mailman loves his iPod, so I give a $10 iTunes card, or a candy treat--a little box from See's, or Godiva. We have multiple garbage men--separate guys for recycling, trash and green bin. I make cellophane bags of nice chocolates from Costco (Lindt, Ghirardelli, etc.) and tie them with a ribbon, and mark ''For Our Recycling Guys'', etc. I put them out in the morning right before they come (in a little cardboard box set on top of the bins, so they see them, but the bags don't get tainted by the cans.) One year I did little ''thank you for all you do'' notes with a $5 McDonald's gift card in each one. Berkeley mom of 3
$20 for mail carrier and each ''waste'' pickup (three different trucks for us!--and those I put 2 tens in the envelope bc sometimes there are 2 people/truck). For housecleaner, I try to give the same amount i pay her in a month, but that is a lot, so I end up giving a bit less. happy holidays
I lived in NYC for 8 years before moving to the bay area so I always tip everyone (because in NY if you don't tip you would notice a difference in service). That does not seem to be the case here. Most people I know only tip their housekeeper. But we continue to tip. I give the 3 trash/recycle/yard waste guys and the mailman each $20. I give my housekeeper $100 plus a small gift (we pay her $80 and she comes every 2 weeks). I think it's a nice gesture if you can afford it. Happy to tip

Best little gift ideas for teachers, school staff, mailman, hairdresser, etc.

Nov 2009

I need some creative ideas for gifts for teachers, school staff, mailman, favorite hairdresser, etc. Anybody have some really great ideas besides gift cards, homemade cookies, etc.? Something people really want, and will use? Please let me know if there's a winning idea that you have used in the past and had good responses with. Thanks!!! A crafty but penny-pinchin' Berkeley mom


Cash or giftcards. Jen B
People seem to like little bags of biscuit or scone mix,which I have bought in the store next to Bettes Diner on Fourth Street in Berkeley.I would think some markets would have something similar,with attractive packaging.Jars of beans with a soup recipe attached, or a jar of lemon curd to put on scones might also work. Ellen
As a person who works in a gift-y office, I have to say that I like the expendible-type gifts way better than the knicknacks or mugs. Though as far as knicknacks go, Christmas ornaments or a small picture frames definitely get used. I like to bake, so I make and gift what I call an edible Christmas card (cookie based). Other ideas, some you could make, some you could buy: soap, hand lotion, lip balm, lottery ticket with a hand-written card, kids art supplies or art kit, a bottle of sparkling juice, an exotic fruit from the Berkeley Bowl, jam, English muffins (seriously, someone gave me English muffins and jam once, and they were wonderful), coffee in any form. That all said, the absolute best ''gift'' I've received are kind words of appreciation for the hard work that I do, especially when the person is specific about what they appreciated about me. A good compliment can last all year. I'll tell you, I remember each and every one of those people, and find that I go the extra mile for them after knowing that I'm not taken for granted. And I work in a very big place, in a position of service to a lot of people. L
One year I gave out dried bay leaves, a gift of local seasoning from the ''Bay'' Area. I picked leaves from local wild bay trees, dried them for a week or so, put them in small ziploc bags (I think I got bags from the container store but a regular half-size sandwich bag would work fine, too) and wrote a small note on a festive stick-on label (also got from the container store, I think). People liked it! You could even include your favorite soup recipe that's seasoned with bay leaves. hunter gatherer
As a former teacher, I actually was most excited to get gift cards, especially to book stores or target, Trader Joes, etc., and loved the home made cookies. We get way too many mugs. Maybe a nice tea or a pound of coffee if you know they drink it? Cocoa mix in a cute decorated jar? I really loved a card from a student's family where they included a photo of me and the student they had taken at Open House. kl

Holiday Tipping/Gifts for professionals

Nov 2008

I'm hoping that professionals will read this and shower me with advice. What's an appropriate holiday gift/tip for all the professionals who make our lives easier? Massage therapists, hair stylists, gardeners, housekeepers, etc.? Money's a bit tight and their fees are steep, but I don't want them to go unacknowledged. Thanks! Grateful


I'm a massage therapist and Pilates trainer/personal trainer. Some clients give me extra money at holiday times, some give me a nice card of appreciation, small gifts, nothing. I work in an office with chiropractors and a few other practitioners. Often clients will bring a gift for everyone....a basket of fruit, chocolates, flowers, etc. Lots of people send cards.

My personal feelings are that there is really nothing that i NEED and since I don't eat sugar or gluten, those kind of gifts are a waste on me (I pass them on).

I don't EXPECT holiday gifts and I know it's hard for most of us to have to spend money on this person and that person....for me a card with a kind note is the nicest gift. If you MUST give a gift, how about a $10.00 gift card to a coffee shop, or Trader Joes or something like that. That's thoughtful, not extravagent and something most people can use. If you know something about what the person likes...food is always a great gift..wine, etc.

I do not tip my hair guy(we're friends), but I might bring him something baked, since I know he does like stuff like that. I also leave a card and bottle of wine for our trash collectors, cookies and card for our mail carrier. That's about it I think. I'd say if it feels like a burdon, don't do it. anon


Tipping the garbage man

Nov 2003

The holidays are coming and I'd really like to tip our garbage men. Any advice on how to do this other than to get up at 5:30am and wait to hear the truck? I know some people leave an envelope taped to the lid, but that doesn't sound too safe. Any ideas welcome. Ellen


I don't generally tip the garbage men but I do leave money for them when I have a large load for them to take. I generally just tape an envelope labeled '' for Waste Management'' on the top of the can. I do not live on a busy street so I suppose theft isn't a big issue but if you leave it out late at night the chances of it being taken is less. One time the recycling man took the money even though it was not on a recycling trash can. But he took the garbage too. Go figure. anon
We have always chosen a yummy food item that could be shared with more than one person in case there was more that one guy that day. We then wrap it and put in on top of the can with a BIG tag saying ''for the Garbageman''. I don't think it has ever gotten stolen but if it does its just chocolate or cookies or something, not cash. We also do the same for the mailperson. Suzie
I'm glad you asked about tipping the garbage men. I feel too few people do it these days. We always give money to the garbagemen, the postman, and the newspaper deliverers. We used to give food, coffee from Peets, even wine, but discovered that what they really wanted was money. I tape two envelopes to the top of the garbage can, since I know we have two garbage men, with $5 in each envelope and a card. I used to give $10 each, but money has been tight. I tried taping the envelopes inside the lid but more often than not they didn't see it and then I would have to run after the truck. We do live on a quiet street but in all the years I've been doing this it's never been stolen. I give $20 or more to the mailman since we have alot of mail. I give $5 to the newspaper deliverers. I would give money to the recycle guy but I haven't figured out an easy way to do it. I feel like we get great service from these people and I like to acknowledge it, even if it's not that much money. I figure if everyone did it, it would really add up! I'm glad you're thinking of these. Grateful Holiday Giver

What do you give to house cleaners, gardeners, etc?

Dec 2002

What do people give to house cleaners (only come 2 hours a week), the gardeners, garbage men, mailman, and part-time babysitters - the 3 or 4 people we use once a month more or less. I really don't have time to do personal gifts and/or bake. Would some nice chocolates and a CD sound like the right combo (less than $20 per person)? It looks like someone asked a similar question a few years back but there were no answers posted. Thanks. In the 'giving' spirit


As a professional gardener for many years, I have received both gifts and cash bonuses from my clients. I personally most appreciate the cash, especially since the rainy season can be a strain financially. anonymous
we give our garbage men and maillady gift certificates. last year, we gave gift certificates to blockbuster video. that way, they can choose a gift that suits them well. jennifer
Call me lazy and crass, but I'd just give the cash. A nice crisp bill with an appreciative note is a great gift, in my experience. I look at it this way -- I'd much rather my own boss give me cash. And $20 sounds good for the types of things you mention. Fran
My experience is that most people with those types of jobs (except maybe the babysitters) have many customers and most often appreciate a cash bonus more than little gifts from people who don't know them well enough to know what they like. I give at least the equivalent of a week's pay or more if it seems warranted. Another busy mom
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