Holiday Gifts: Don’t Forget These Important People in Your Life

December 20, 2018

Holiday Gifts: Don’t Forget These Important People in Your Life

When buying holiday presents, be sure to thank the people who help make your life better.

Teachers, mail carriers, babysitters, hairstylists—they’re the ones who make our lives easier. Remembering to thank them during the holiday season is the easy part; figuring out the right gift is a bit more difficult. Here’s how to best show them your appreciation.


For teachers, there are basically two rules: Don’t give cash, and keep it appropriate. That means no clothing or anything similarly personal. Good ideas include a mug, a nice item for the teacher’s desk, or something you know the teacher likes (if he or she is a coffee fiend, a bag of their favorite coffee beans is a great option). Going in on a gift card with other members of the class also works. Flowers are never a bad idea, and baked goods are always appreciated (keep in mind any dietary restrictions and any school rules about things like nuts). Be sure to check with your school’s guidelines before you buy gifts.

Mail Carrier

According to federal regulations, you can give your mail carrier a gift worth $20 or less, and you can’t give money. You can give gift cards, so long as they can’t be converted to cash. Otherwise, candy or cookies are always welcome as are handwritten letters expressing your appreciation.


If you live in a building with a staff, there are finer points to ponder when tipping for the holidays. First, how large is your building and how many apartments are there? Second, how many people are there to tip? If you live in a huge building with a large staff, you can tip each person less because they’ll be receiving tips from many residents. If your building is smaller and fewer people work there, it’s a good idea to give a little more.

Also think about how you interact with everyone throughout the year. Do you tip your handyperson every time they come to fix something? If so, feel free to give a bit less around the holidays. If not, consider giving more.

How long have you lived in the building? If you just moved in, it’s acceptable to give less. If you’ve lived there a year, give more.

Finally, it’s totally OK to tip the people you interact with most often more, even if they have similar jobs.

Hairstylist, Nail Technician, and Other Personal Services

If you see a particular hairstylist or nail technician throughout the year, a cash gift is a good idea. If you can, tip 100% for a service during the holiday season.


Tip your regular sitter the equivalent of one or two nights’ pay, depending on how often he or she babysits. A gift card for a manicure or pedicure is another great option. For someone particularly special, a small gift from your child is a great way to do something extra.


For a housekeeper, one week’s pay is a great way of saying thank you.


First, let’s be clear: You definitely don’t need to get gifts for your doctors. And before you do, you should check to make sure there’s no office policy against gifts. If it’s someone you see often, like a therapist, and you feel inclined to do something, cookies or flowers are always nice.

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