We can leave the Fed-Ex guy a gift that's up to $75 in value this holiday season, but how in the world do we get it in his hands?  He's so fast.

Most of us don't live buildings with a doorman so we can skip that, but we should be tipping landlords, delivery drivers, and handymen this holiday season. How much? And how do we get the tip into the hands of the trash collector without getting run over?

At some point this month, tip etiquette experts advise us to give something extra to anyone who has offered us a personal service throughout the year. That includes hairdressers, barbers, babysitters, lawn care service crews, personal trainers, and baristas. And the amount depends on the level of service. Since nannies might work several hours per day for us they should get an amount that's almost like a Christmas bonus, and others who perform one service per week might get fifty bucks or a gift card.

Smallbiztrends.com has some suggestions, and I've compiled some ideas from past experience too. If you buy gift cards in bulk and keep them at the ready for the next three weeks, you'll be all set.

Treasure Valley Holiday Tipping Guide

Landlord or Building Manager: $50 or more

Handyman: $20-$100

Daily/Weekly Housekeeper: Equivalent to one day’s (or week’s) service

Newspaper Delivery: $10-$30

Trash Collector: If there are no restrictions, $10-$25 per person. Give it to them personally or drop off the gift at the corporate office

Babysitter: A cash equivalent to one night’s pay or a gift card

Nanny: One week’s (to one month’s) pay and a gift from your child

Hair Stylist, Barber, or Massage Therapist: A tip or gift card equivalent to one visit.

Barista: $20

Dog walker: Up to one week’s pay

Many of these we've seen before, but giving the landlord more money on top of the rent might be a new and slightly painful idea. But maybe the holiday generosity will help him have the energy to fix that leaky pipe a little more quickly next time.

It gets a little tricky when it comes to mail carriers and package deliverers.

FedEx and the US Postal Service have rules against cash and gift cards, but those carriers can accept small gifts. Those gifts should be kept under a $75 value for FedEx drivers and under $20 for mail carriers. (My dad was a mailman when I was growing up, and we always got lots of homemade fudge and coffee mugs in gift bags.) UPS will allow drivers to accept a small gift or gratuity up to $25 in value.

Most of the tips and gifts can be delivered when we see these folks, but in the case of delivery drivers and trash collectors, it's probably best to deliver it to the corporate office.  Or flag them down as they're about to take off toward the next stop.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and it's also the most expensive! But tips are a great way to show appreciation, and it's one more way to add meaning to the season for some folks who make our lives easier and better throughout the year.

And if you can't afford the suggested amounts, any small gift will work. The season is about more than the money anyway, and the thought will count.

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