Even though many of us are eating out less, trading our apartments for the suburbs, and working remotely, tipping this holiday season is still important—and should be exercised in full swing. Tipping this holiday season is going to look a little different, but it’s even more necessary and appreciated this year than before. Here’s a new guide for tipping:
It’s standard each holiday season to tip our doormen and restaurant waiters, but this year, think about those you don’t typically tip and who should be tipped—particularly your own essential workers. This can be your grocery store clerks, small business owners, local bodega owners, and your mailman. Even your garbage man or your leaf-blower. This year, take stock of those you don’t normally tip who deserve something extra. In fact, you may want to prioritize these people; they’ve been on the front lines all year and deserve the recognition.
Hit That Sweet Spot
Once you’ve established who to tip, the next question is deciding how much to tip. If you’re tipping someone you know personally and who helps you on a day-to-day basis, such as your building’s service crew or concierge, usually $100 per person is a good rule of thumb. If you’re tipping someone you don’t know by name, such as the owner of a store you frequent, $20-$30 is appropriate. You could also tip a percentage, depending on the situation, like with delivery services. When figuring out how much to tip, it’s best to first pinpoint your relationship with the person and go from there.
Make it Personal
Holiday tipping usually involves tipping a little more on the restaurant check or personally handing someone an envelope. Since we’re mostly remote these days, these methods aren’t going to work. It’s likely that many of us are going to be sending tips in the mail, dropping them off curbside, or doing a contactless handoff. These aren’t exactly personal ways of giving tips, so think about what you can do to give your tip something extra. Maybe include a handwritten note in the envelope. Or buy a card that feels tailored to your receiver. Since we won’t be giving many tips face-to-face like usual, try to make it special.
The More The Merrier
If you’re able to swing it, tip more than usual this year. This doesn’t have to be a big amount. But if you usually give your delivery guy or girl a 20% tip, this season up it to 25%. The extra money won’t break your bank—we’re talking the difference between a few cents in some instances—and it will be a thoughtful gesture to those who have continued working this year throughout the pandemic. Even though this year has been financially difficult for many, adding a bit extra on the tip can go a long way. Your receivers will remember your generosity and thank you for it.
This holiday season, we might not make it to our favorite restaurant or spa. If you’ve temporarily relocated from your city apartment to your parent’s house in the suburbs, you haven’t been in need of your building’s super. Though we might not be using or enjoying the services we normally do, you should still tip those you would in a non-pandemic year. Your super is still keeping your building running. The waiter at your favorite restaurant is still serving food. Just because you personally aren’t taking advantage of their services, doesn’t mean you should overlook them this year.
Holiday tipping shouldn’t be something to skimp out on, and this year is no different. In fact, you should find ways to be generous and charitable with your tips, whether it’s adding a personal touch, giving a few extra dollars, or thanking anyone and everyone who made your life a little bit easier this year.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.