While it’s customary, and even expected, that you tip most service workers in cash, there may be people you work with more closely for whom you’d like to show your appreciation in a more meaningful way. Gift tipping is a great way to show babysitters, dog walkers and teachers how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you. Gift ideas for such people can be as creative and personal as you’d like. Tipping etiquette for gift tipping allows for everything from homemade pies to concert tickets to store gift cards.
How to Tip With Gifts
Gift tipping is most common during the holidays, but it’s also appropriate for birthdays, graduations and other special occasions. You may want to tip certain people when they’ve done something exceptional, such as your pet sitter agreeing to take your dogs for the weekend at the last minute.
Appreciation gift ideas should be personal, such as a small homemade gift from your child to her teacher. If the individual’s work is very valuable to you, small personal gifts can be accompanied by something more substantial like a nice piece of jewelry or a gift card. Tipping etiquette tends to be flexible when dictating how to tip with gifts.
Gift Tipping Etiquette
Usually, as long as the gift is meaningful and well-intentioned, it will be appreciated. However, as thoughtful as gift tipping is, there may be times when it’s not appropriate. Giving a very expensive or sentimental gift to a service provider you have a cursory relationship with may be seen as overreaching. On the other hand, giving a very inexpensive or impersonal gift to someone you’ve worked closely with for a long period of time may be interpreted as an insult, or worse–that you are unsatisfied with their work.
A good guideline to use when deciding how to tip with gifts is to make the value of the gift equivalent to the value of a service, or job, that the person might do. For example, you can tip your hairdresser with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates that cost about the same as a haircut.