Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, and the holiday shopping season has officially begun. While deciding what gifts to buy your loved ones is generally a straightforward affair, figuring out the proper way to recognize your nanny or doorman can be trickier., the official website honoring the grand dame of etiquette, has a list of suggestions that outline how to thank the people in your life that give you regular service. It offers smart ideas for showing your appreciation, including a reminder that no gift-giver should go beyond his or her budget.


Anything too expensive may be inappropriate. Peter Post, the director of the Emily Post institute, recommends steering away from monetary gifts and instead giving teachers a small gift, such as baked goods or a plant, along with a nice card from your child.

Mail Carrier or Package Deliverer

The U.S. Postal Service and many delivery companies prohibit cash gifts, so the site recommends giving your carriers small items like a coffee mug or gloves. Anything under $20 is suitable: The U.S.P.S. explicitly states that gifts must cost less than that.

Live-in Help

For your live-in nanny, butler, cook or housekeeper, either cash or a gift is suitable. In terms of price, the site suggests anything in the range of a week to a month’s pay. If you’re buying for a nanny or another professional who is close to your children, consider also giving them a small present from your child.

Barber, Personal Trainer and Pet Care Professionals

You may find that the people who keep you — and your pets — looking and feeling good deserve some love around the holidays. The guide suggests giving these people cash or a gift equal to one haircut, or one training or grooming session.

Doorman, Handyman, Superintendent or Yard Worker

The Emily Post guide states that cash or a gift is suitable for any of these service providers. Anything in the price range of $15 to $80 is appropriate, but as the list points out, there is no need to go over your budget.

Health Care Employees

For a private nurse or nursing home worker, the site recommends giving a small gift (not cash), or, if you’re dealing with a team or staff, something shareable such as flowers or holiday snacks. You may want to look into their employers’ gifting policy before buying. If gifts are not allowed, you may be able to make a charitable donation to their agency or a related cause.

What service providers will you recognize this holiday season? How will you decide what to give them?