Holiday, year-round tipping: Who gets what?

A nice gesture to start the new year is to offer some sort of gift to the service people who keep your home running all year round.

The gift of a $20 bill, a box of home-baked cookies, a gift card for a fancy cup of coffee or a hand-written thank-you note is a simple way to say “thank you” to the people you entrust your home and your family’s safety to.

Offering the gift during the first visit of the year can make it extra-special because it will stand out from the many tokens these reliable servicepeople receive during the December holidays.

If you’re going to give a post-holiday thank-you gift to a handyman or repair tech, a delivery driver or anyone else you invite into your home during the year, do a bit of research first:

  • Does the company the tech works for allow employees to accept monetary gifts from clients? It’s simple to find this out: Just call the company and ask. If not money may change hands, find a non-monetary thank-you gift, like baked goods.
  • Is the tech allergic to gluten or nuts? Your world-famous chocolate chip cookies with walnuts isn’t a thoughtful gift for someone who can’t eat them.
  • Wine in a festive bag is usually appreciated—by those who love wine. Not everyone does. Discretely work your love of wine into a conversation at some point to learn if your tech would be grateful for a bottle.
  • Likewise, a coffee coupon isn’t much of a reward for someone who never touches the stuff.

How much is too much? Your gift should be heartfelt but inexpensive. You wouldn’t want to make your tech feel like he owes you a gift in return.