Don’t be a scrooge

Ruth McCullagh

Extra tips for holidays remain societal norm

The holiday season is for giving and not receiving. Tip your waitress, newspaper boy or even your hairdresser this season, but be cautious what you tip them. Some people cannot receive money tips.

Credit: Steve Schirra

The snow is falling, houses are lit and soon packages will be under the Christmas tree. With holiday spirit, gifts are exchanged between family and friends with gestures of love and thanksgiving.

But what about those you’re not overly close to – but are still thankful for – such as your hairdresser, paper deliverer, massage therapist, letter carrier and nail technician?

The Emily Post Institute, founded in 1946, “serves as a ‘civility barometer’ for American society – addressing the societal concerns of the 21st century including business etiquette, raising polite children and civility in America,” according to the institute’s Web site, For the 2005 holiday season, the institute has compiled a cheat sheet for those unsure what to tip the people who serve them throughout the year.

Examples include: tipping the hairdresser the amount of a haircut and/or a gift, giving the baby sitter an evening’s wage plus a small gift, possibly from the child. Newspaper deliverers should be tipped between $10 and $30.

The institute recommends giving a package deliverer, such as a UPS worker, a small gift, but not cash as the company may prohibit it. This is true for United States Postal workers. Workers may accept gifts valued less than $20, but they may not receive cash because this puts employees at risk for violating federal law, according to information found at

Area vendor Glenn Wieland said in his business, tips are not acceptable.

“It’s understood that accepting tips isn’t appropriate,” Wieland said. “Both the delivery people and the accounts understand this.”

The Emily Post Institute site says tipping is dependent upon different factors such as:

ƒ-S the quality and frequency of the service

ƒ-S your relationship with the service provider

ƒ-S the frequency of the service or how long you have worked together

ƒ-S your budget

 ƒ-S regional customs of the type of establishment: deluxe vs. moderate

Tina Knoch from A Way of Life hair and health center in Kent said she receives gifts from her regular clients, but not from walk-ins.

“I usually get little gifts from repeat customers,” Knoch said. “I’ve had customers for six to 10 years. The longer you’re working for someone, the more they become like family.”

Ed and Connie Scaglione of Dover have kept up their son’s paper route since he moved. Connie is responsible for collecting the subscription fee and said some of their customers, many of whom are elderly, send tips with holiday cards. Occasionally, she receives a homemade item such as cake as a gesture of appreciation; however, in recent years she has seen the number of tips decline.

“Through the years, it’s become less and less,” Scaglione said. “We have a lot of customers who pre-pay and send their subscriptions to the paper.”

Scaglione said being considerate and communication with customers are reasons they receive tips.

“Just having a rapport with the customers,” Scaglione said. “For instance, if we go on vacation, we tell them when we’re going and who they can contact.”

Scaglione said having the route has helped her realize the importance of tips.

“It’s just like your waitress,” Scaglione said. “They earn their living with tips. In a type of job where someone relies on tips for their pay, giving them that extra gift shows that you appreciate what they do.”

Jami McDonald, Kent alumnus and former waitress, understands the importance of a good tip. Although she is a student with a limited budget, McDonald tries to over-tip when she has the chance.

“I try to be that tipper that makes their day,” McDonald said. “I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.”

If the budget is tight and it’s difficult to give a gift, a note of thanks always expresses appreciation for services rendered, regardless of the time of year.

Contact features correspondent Ruth McCullagh at [email protected].