When it comes to giving tips, many of you will notice in the coming weeks that the festive season is in full swing. Babysitters, newspaper boys, or domestic helpers all seem to be waiting to see what you will give. There is, however, no obligation to distribute money to everyone who comes your way!

At the Personal Level
Your babysitter, newspaper boy, janitor, hairdresser, mailman, domestic help, or masseur, for example, will appreciate a small gift if they have provided you with good service throughout the year.

What to Look Out For
Be sure to contact your city council before you make a cash gift to your garbage men – there are regional variations concerning how large the tip should be and whether it can be accepted. Supervisors also frown upon gifts in the form of alcohol.
Do not go overboard on tips for mailmen and parcel carriers. A good option is to give a sum equivalent to half of what a man’s haircut at a salon would cost. Your domestic help should, in contrast, be given the equivalent of one week’s wages.
Have you ever considered that giving a cash tip to the personnel at your doctor’s office could be viewed as an attempt to bribe them into making your wait shorter? Small gifts such as good-quality coffee for the communal kitchen or home-baked cookies are a better option.

Office Protocol
In recent years the business world has seen the flood of premium wines, hampers, and bakery products that used to be given dry up. Many companies now prefer to make a donation equivalent to the sum they would have spent. Instead, they send out seasonal cards that include details on the charitable cause they have supported.
It is, however, also a sad fact of life that many companies are expected to make seasonal gifts as a kind of payment for good service. Should you, for example, neglect to present a gift to your janitor, he may make you wait longer next year. In this context it is a good idea to remain true to your principles. Only make cash or material gifts if you were happy with the service you received and want to express your gratitude – not in advance.

Gifts for the Boss
Monetary gifts for the boss are taboo. Instead make a small seasonal gift as a stylish way of expressing thanks among equals.