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Holiday tipping: Who to include and how much to give

Did you get a holiday card from your newspaper delivery guy? Did your building manager send out a staff list of all the people you "might want to thank" this year? Yep, it's holiday tipping season in New York City.

Cynicism aside, the truth is we're happy to show the people whose services we use how grateful we are -- it's just figuring out the proper etiquette that can be grating on our sensibility at a time of year when we're already stressed. "People always worry about doing the wrong thing," said Lizzie Post, co-author of Emily Post's Etiquette 18th edition and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post. "They get nervous that someone will think of them as the cheapskate or the thoughtless person."

Holiday tipping (or gift giving) is more about your personal budget and showing appreciation in whichever way you feel comfortable.

In fact, in tough economic times, even just a heartfelt thank you note will do the trick, Post said. (Yes, even in one of the most expensive cities in the world -- we asked.)

To make things easier, we've compiled a list of suggestions from the Emily Post Institute on who gets a tip and how much.

And here's a bonus: Post said to take caution when giving gift cards. "Cash or a gift is a better way to go," she said.

Dog walker

The peace of mind you get from knowing
Photo Credit: Flickr / yourdon

The peace of mind you get from knowing your pooch isn't cooped up all day is priceless. But as far as a tip, go for up to one week's pay if giving cash, or a gift.

Babysitter / Day-care provider

For a babysitter, consider giving up to one
Photo Credit: iStock

For a babysitter, consider giving up to one night's pay as a tip. If you bring your child to day care, give a gift or $25 to $70 for each staff member who works with your child. A small gift from your child is also a nice touch.

Live-in nanny or au pair

You likely know this person well, so this
Photo Credit: iStock

You likely know this person well, so this might be the occasion to choose a gift over cash. But a tip of up to one week's pay and a gift from your child is also appropriate.

Garage attendants

Cash or a gift are both appropriate options
Photo Credit: Flickr / vyelevich

Cash or a gift are both appropriate options here. You should tip between $10 and $30 for each person.

Doorman or superintendent

You probably see your doormen more than you
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

You probably see your doormen more than you see your mother, and they've always got a smile on their face when they greet you. The range here is a large one, so you'll have to use your discretion. Give a cash tip of anywhere from $15 to $80 per person, according to the Post institute. A gift for each person would also be appropriate.

Superintendent: If your building has a superintendent, the range is between $20 and $80, or a gift.

Pet groomer

If the same person grooms your pet all
Photo Credit: Flickr / wendygig

If the same person grooms your pet all year, give a gift or cash up to the value of one session.

Manicurist

Especially with all the controversy regarding New York
Photo Credit: iStock

Especially with all the controversy regarding New York City nail salons this year, if you get regular mani-pedis, be generous with your holiday tips (and we don't mean French tips). The typical holiday gift is the price of your regular visit, and including something additional like a gift card or candy set is not uncommon.

Hair salon staff

Because they talk you down from your crazy
Photo Credit: iStock

Because they talk you down from your crazy ideas and work magic with a blow dryer, show your hairdresser how you appreciate him or her with a cash tip or a gift. A tip should be up to the cost of one salon visit divided for each staff member who works on you. And not having an appointment near the holidays is no excuse -- make sure to drop in or mail the tip in a card. Same goes for a barber.

Teacher

You shouldn't ever give your child's teacher cash,
Photo Credit: iStock

You shouldn't ever give your child's teacher cash, which could be seen as a bribe. Instead, opt for a small gift -- a book, school supplies or something chosen or made by your child will go a long way.

Laundry attendant

Dropping off pounds of wash and fold each
Photo Credit: iStock

Dropping off pounds of wash and fold each week? Don't let your laundry workers help out with all your dirty holiday clothes without showing some appreciation. The standard tip amount for your regular laundry attendant is $10 per person whose laundry is washed regularly. A couple should tip $20, a family of four $40, etc.

Cleaning person

At the end of a long day in
Photo Credit: iStock

At the end of a long day in the smelly city, there's nothing better than walking into your apartment to the scent of Lysol. Your cleaning person was here. For the holidays, thank them with a tip equal to one week's pay and/or a small gift.

Newspaper delivery

They brave the elements and they get up
Photo Credit: iStock

They brave the elements and they get up really early. Show your appreciation with a tip of $10 to $30. If you tip regularly throughout the year, consider throwing in a few extra bucks with your regular tip near the holidays.

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