The Holiday Tipping Point

Every year I can see it coming in my apartment building. The floors are waxed to a dazzling shine, the walls get fresh splash of paint, the super responds more promptly to my funky drain, and the handy man suddenly learns how to smile in the morning. It’s tipping time! Happy holidays and happy headaches trying to figure out how much to tip, or what to give when your cash flow is as dry as the Sahara--thank you, crappy economy.

The holidays are a time when we’d like to give special thanks to those who make our lives easier, our nannies and children’s teachers, cleaning ladies, building personnel, and our hairdressers or barbers. Often, that special “thank you” is expressed with cash. However, in these lean and mean times, everyone has to be a little more creative with what they give, and little more flexible with what they receive.

In fact, I had nice little chat on The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee on the subject.
Click here to see the video

If you your cash flow is limited, here are some things to keep in mind:

If you are giving cash, here are some guidelines (And while you’re at it, go the extra mile -- don’t give those crumpled bills in your wallet. Stop by the bank for crisp ones!):

No cash, for teachers (not allowed), but we love them.
They can’t and shouldn’t accept cash, but a small gift (gift cards for dinner, movies and books are popular) and a heartfelt note from you and your child are good choices. Check your school’s policy on gifting to make sure you don’t create an embarrassing situation.

So...give, but not until it hurts!