Holiday tipping guide: Who should you tip and how much

Across the country, there’s a silent frustration brewing about an age-old practice that many say is getting out of hand: tipping.

Some fed-up consumers are posting rants on social media complaining about tip requests at drive-thrus, while others say they’re tired of being asked to leave a gratuity for a muffin or a simple cup of coffee at their neighborhood bakery. What’s next, they wonder -- are we going to be tipping our doctors and dentists, too?

Despite this, the act of tipping has always been a pivotal source of income for most U.S. residents who work in the service industry. 

So will these factors impact workers who depend on tips this holiday season?

RELATED: Tipping fatigue: Here are the states with the best and worst tippers

Here’s all the etiquette you should know.

Cash is often best, but not absolutely required

If you can afford to give only a few dollars, a small gift or homemade item may be a better way of expressing appreciation.Of course, not everyone is good in the kitchen — or welcomes homemade goodies.

Match the tip to the relationship

The amount you give can reflect the quality and frequency of your interactions. You might tip an occasional babysitter the equivalent of one evening's pay, for example, while a live-in nanny could get a bonus equal to one week's pay, or more. A small gift in addition to a tip is a nice touch when the relationship is more personal.

A tip roughly equal to the cost of a single visit might be appropriate for:

  • Babysitters
  • Housekeepers
  • Dog walkers and groomers
  • Personal trainers
  • Pool cleaners
  • Snow shovelers
  • Hairstylists or barbers
  • Massage therapists, facialists and manicurist

Tipping workers for the holidays can sometimes feel like a lot of pressure for such an important job but a separate survey revealed just how most people give during the holiday seasons.

The survey found that housekeepers and childcare providers are tipped the most at an average of $50. Forty-seven percent of adults plan to tip their housekeepers and 41% plan to tip their childcare providers, according to a report from FOX Business.

Landscapers are tipped an average of $30, while teachers are tipped $25. Trash collectors and mail carriers are tipped an average of $20 but only 19% of adults plan to tip their waste management workers.

  • Yard and garden workers ($20 to $50 each)
  • Trash and recycling collectors ($10 to $30)
  • Handyman ($15 to $40)
  • Package deliverer ($20, if allowed; check with the company)
  • U.S. Postal Service mail carriers (small gift only; no cash, per USPS rules)
  • Day care workers ($25 to $75 each for those who work with your child; check with facility)
  • Newspaper deliverer ($10 to $30)
  • Building superintendents ($20 to $80)
  • Doormen ($15 to $80)
  • Parking attendants ($10 to $30)

You don't have to tip everyone

If you tip someone regularly throughout the year, a holiday tip may not be necessary. Cash tips also aren't appropriate for certain people, such as professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) and anyone who works for an entity that prohibits them. 

For government workers, for example, a tip can look like a bribe. Check with nursing homes, home health care providers, package delivery companies and day care centers, especially, before tipping individual workers.

It's the thought that counts

Fresh, crisp bills tucked into a card with a handwritten note? Classy. Wadded bills thrust at the service provider on your way out the door? Not so much. Ditto leaving an extra-large tip on a credit card receipt. Something's certainly better than nothing, but putting some care into your presentation can demonstrate that you really do appreciate what they do for you.

If you're going to, tip early

The holidays are stressful. Especially this year while gas prices are high and inflation is through the roof. Sending holiday tips as early as possible might be ideal for people depending on those tips to cross off their holiday shopping lists as soon as possible. Tipping early in the holiday season means people have extra cash to spend which may even include giving away their own holiday tips.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. Kelly Hayes, The Associated Press and FOX Business contributed.