Holiday Bonuses, Gifts & Tips
Berkeley Parents Network >
Holidays and Special Events >
Holiday Bonuses, Gifts & Tips
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?
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.
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
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.
A crafty but penny-pinchin' Berkeley mom
Cash or giftcards.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
Another busy mom
this page was last updated: Nov 18, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network