Jeanne Sahadi
Holiday Tipping
• Real world tipping guide
• Random acts of money kindness
• Waiter tip tricks
• More Jeanne columns
Whether you give holiday tips with a song in your heart or a sense that the practice is one step shy of extortion, you know you'll probably have to dole out some dough between November and New Year's. Just how much is the question.

Below are some suggestions that incorporate recommendations from four sources on tipping: Hilka Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International; the authors of "The Itty Bitty Guide to Tipping," the Web site and The Emily Post Institute.

Remember, there's no one "right" number for everyone. Determining how much to tip depends on several factors, including how long you've used someone's services, how important the service is to your life, the quality of the service you've received, and where you live.

The purpose is to reward good service and to say "thank you." If money is tight, but you still want to recognize someone, you might just give homemade goods with a handwritten note of thanks.

Babysitter: 1 evening's pay + small gift from child
Au pair: 1 week's pay or a gift + small gift from child
Nanny: 1 week's to 1 month's pay + small gift from child
Daycare providers: $25-$70/each + small gift from child
Child's teacher: Gift (but check school's policy to see if it's allowed)

Housekeeper: 1 week's pay or more (depending on length of service)
Trash collectors: $15-$20 each
Parking attendants: $10-$35 each or up to half a month's rate for the group if they regularly provide extra service
Gardener: $20-$50

Doormen: $20-$100 each (those who provide the most service for you should get more than those whom you barely see)
Superintendent/custodian: $30-$100 (closer to $100 if there's no doorman and few staff)
Porters/handymen: $10-$50 each
Elevator operators: $15-$40 each

Hairdresser: Cost of 1 cut (or $20-$100) if you go frequently + small gift
Manicurist: Cost of 1 session (or $10-$50) + small gift
Personal trainer: $25 up to 1 week's pay (or cost of 1 session)
Massage therapist: $50-$100 or cost of 1 session

Dog groomer: Small gift + ¼ to ½ the cost of 1 session
Dog walker: Cost of 1 session up to 1 week's pay

U.S. mail carrier: Gifts under $20*
UPS: $15 (if you get regular deliveries)
FedEx: Gift up to $25 (if you get regular deliveries)
Paper carrier: $15-$25 for daily delivery ($5-$15 for weekend delivery)
*Civil servants are not allowed to receive cash tips. But if you wish to recognize your mail carrier, the U.S. Postal Service asks that your gratuity not exceed $20 in cash value.