Leaner Holiday Tipping

Holiday tipping is a tradition, but if you start to get sweaty palms trying to figure out WHO to tip and HOW MUCH, you're not alone.

There's the hair stylist that makes you look fabulous year-round...

and what about the housekeeper who keeps things spic and span...

or the nanny who looks after your clan?

And lest you forget a critical one-do mail carriers get in on the holiday-tip fun?

A survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center set out to determine who gets tipped and what's given.

More than 1800 people were asked about holiday tipping in 2008.

"Tipping was much leaner last year. We found a definite drop in the number of service providers who were tipped." said Donato Vaccaro of Consumer Reports.

Among them, manicurists saw fewer tips. So did newspaper and mail carriers, too.

"Our survey found that house cleaners got the biggest tip on average-$50. And they were followed by child-care providers, who got an average gift value of $40.

And if this year is like last, $20 will be the tip of choice for sanitation workers and hairdressers alike.

Consumer Reports found that while teachers are among the most commonly tipped, some school districts do not allow money to be given.

Most of those surveyed gave teachers a non cash gift.

And if you're not sure what to give someone who provides a weekly service, Consumer Reports says a good rule of thumb is a week's worth of pay.

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