Elyse Reflects on Holiday Generosity and Tipping

I love the holidays. The entire month of December is filled with its own special food, music, decorations and a massive movie market. But my favorite part is that it is the one time of the year when people actively try to be decent, generous human beings. I’ve always used this time of year to give a little more, so I’ll buy a Toys for Tots present or drop a few dollars into the Salvation Army bucket. But when I was asked to write an article about holiday tipping, I was a bit surprised. People are supposed to give special tips just for the holidays? I honestly had no idea.

While holiday tipping seems like a wonderful idea to me, I’m still a college student in the process of saving up for that period of time (this May) when I embark on my journey into the real world (unemployment). I’ve already built up a sizeable credit card bill from buying Christmas present for people near and dear to me and I need to be a bit tight-stringed with the giving to strangers. I’ve also noticed that the trend with giving holiday tips is mostly directed at people who serve you every day, the daily coffee guy or the bodega owner you buy lunch from two or three times a week. If you’re very well off, that would also include any cleaning people or dog-walkers you’ve hired. I don’t have a daily coffee guy and I certainly don’t hire a cleaning service so I don’t really know whom I would even be giving a holiday tip to.

When it comes to our apartment, we don’t live in a fancy place with doormen or regular maintenance workers and we never see our super. We mail rent checks directly to a bank, so we don’t have personal contact with anyone. But if we were lucky enough to live in a building with a doorman, the three of us would definitely split the cost of a nice tip. They have to stand next to your door all day long, and in the winter that can be pretty rough. They deserve one.

So while I may not be doing any holiday tipping this year, I will be sure to make my non-holiday tips extra generous in honor of the season, and I’ll be dropping my spare change into every Santa bucket I pass on the street. And I certainly look forward to the day when I live in a place where holiday tips are customary. This may make me sound a bit cheap, but all it really means is that I’ll have enough money to buy that extra nice present for my mother, because she definitely deserves it.

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