Tipping guidelines during the holiday season

LOS ANGELES A survey by the Consumer Reports national research center set out to determine who gets tipped and what's given. More than 18-hundred people were asked about holiday tipping in 2008.

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

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

The most commonly tipped turned out to be housekeepers, child-care providers, teachers, and hairdressers.

And who got the most?

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

If this year is like last, 20 dollars 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 noncash 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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