Don't forget to include teachers, baby-sitters and hairdressers on your gift list! Robyn Moreno, features editor of Woman's Day magazine, visited “Today” to share tips for giving and offer great gift suggestions for those who provide service for you throughout the year.
Shoppers will be scooping up a lot of merchandise this holiday season. While consumers will be dedicating the majority of their holiday spending to gifts for family and friends, this year their generosity will reach out to the other people in their lives. It's estimated that shoppers will spend approximately $44.16 each on gifts for special people they'd like to thank this year, including baby-sitters, teachers and hairstylists.
Who should receive a holiday gift of appreciation? The holiday season is the traditional time to say “thank-you” and show your appreciation for those who have provided service to you throughout the year. Think of all the people you depend on throughout the year, like the baby-sitter you can call at the last minute and the hairstylist who makes you look and feel like a million dollars. Instead of giving a tip this holiday, consider a thoughtful gift. And don't forget that one of the best ways to express your appreciation is a hand-written note, which should accompany any holiday tip.
How much should you spend?
The amount of your gift varies widely, depending on the quality and frequency of service, your relationship with the individual, the frequency of the service or how long you have worked together, and your budget. If you regularly tip at the time of service, you may forgo or give a more modest holiday tip. Try to include your child in gift decisions for teachers, day care providers, nannies and baby-sitters.
The following is a general guide on how much to spend on a holiday gift of appreciation:
- Child's teacher: Check your school's policy first. Give a gift, not cash. Parents may opt to give a joint gift.
- Baby-sitter: One to two evenings' pay plus a small gift from your child. Day care provider: Ranging from $25 to $70 each.
- Barber/hairstylist: The cost of one visit. And depending on your relationship with your hairstylist, you may also consider giving a small gift.
- Personal fitness trainer: The cost of one session.
- Newspaper carrier: Ranging from $10 to $30, depending upon whether or not you tip throughout the year.
- Mail carrier: As a government employee, postal workers are prohibited from accepting cash gifts or gifts valued over $20. However, a small gift valued under $20 is fine.
- Dog walker: One week's pay.
- Handyman: Ranging from $15 to $40, depending on the frequency of service.
- Superintendent: From $25 to $100 (amounts are generally on the higher end in larger cities).
Gift ideas for your child's teacher
Quilted gifts are quite sassy this season, and what better way to thank a teacher than with these stylish items to stash materials for the classroom.
Quilted Nylon Utility Tote Bag
Elegance and spacious size make this quilted tote perfect for every situation. The faux leather trim is an eye catcher, while the cavernous inside and convenient zip pockets catch all your belongings. Available in a variety of colors. Order by Dec. 18 to ensure Christmas delivery. Ann Taylor Loft, $59.00; www.anntaylorloft.com
Quilted Embroidered Pencil Case
Perfect for a teacher's pencils, make-up and other small items. Order by Dec. 22 to ensure Christmas delivery. Eddie Bauer, $24.50; www.eddiebauer.com
Goose Down Handwarmer Pocket Scarf
This colorful scarf is filled with the weightless warmth of goose down. Its 100 percent nylon shell is baffle stitched to keep the down — and the warmth — properly dispersed. Fleece-lined pockets at each end quickly warm up cold hands. Available in a variety of colors. Order by Dec. 22 to ensure Christmas delivery. Eddie Bauer, $39.50; www.eddiebauer.com
Asara Cashmere Gloves
Knit from the silken hairs of Kashmir mountain goats, these 100 percent pure cashmere gloves stop the cold in its tracks. Sumptuously soft and lightweight, they deliver exceptional warmth in a lightweight package. Available in gray with black trim, camel with brown trim or red with pink trim. One size fits most. Order by Dec. 18 to ensure Christmas delivery. www.redenvelope.com, $42.00
Carrot & Stick Notebooks
5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, 64 pages. Available in a variety of patterns. Order by Dec. 16 to ensure Christmas delivery. Carrot & Stick, $5.00 each; www.carrotandstickpress.com
Gift ideas for your hairdresser and manicurist
Indulge their sweet tooth with the following treats of thanks:
New Orleans Spice of Life Basket
Give candy with a purpose and support individuals recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Southern Candymakers offers this Big Easy basket that provides a taste of New Orleans containing Praline Sauce, Beignet mix, French Market gourmet coffee, 1/4 pound Glazed pecans, 2 pralines and 2 tortues. Order by Dec. 15 to ensure Christmas delivery. Southern Candymakers, $34.95; www.southerncandymakers.com
Guaranteed to melt the heart of any Scrooge. Three round “hatboxes” hold four exclusive holiday treats: Our Peppermint Moose Munch® Popcorn, Peppermint Crunch Cookies, and Peppermint Bark, plus a selection of our world-famous Royal Riviera® Pears. Harry and David, $29.95; www.harryanddavid.com
Holiday Jardiniere Collection
This charming planter is filled with Harbor Sweets Golden Tree Box of 30 Sweet Sloops, The 10 Piece Harbor Sweets Hostess Assortment, a clear bag of 10 Dark Chocolate Friendship Sweets and a Little Gold Box with cranberry raspberry Harbor Lights. It arrives tied with an elegant emerald green and gold striped ribbon. You may want to include a plant for an extra treat after eating. Order by Dec. 22 to ensure Christmas delivery. Harbor Sweets, $64.95; www.harborsweets.com
Pancake Breakfast Set
There's nothing more comforting than waking up to a yummy blueberry pancake breakfast. This downright delicious gift set packed with traditional Maine favorites (a place where people are adept at shaking off the cold with a big stack of blues!) has everything you need for a fresh country-style morning meal. It includes an old-fashioned Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix, a package of rich Coastal Morning Ground Coffee, a jar of Wild Maine Blueberry Jam (packed with fresh berries), and a bottle of Grade A dark amber Maine Maple Syrup. Everything comes packaged in a New England-chic bough-covered box that contains a gift card and ribbon. Order by Dec. 22 to ensure Christmas delivery. www.wishingfish.com, $36.50
Polar Pal Candy Dish and Treats South meets North in this elegant polar bear wintertime dish filled with a serving of decadent Peppermint Truffles. Measures 9 inches across. 8 ounces Harry and David, $24.95; www.harryanddavid.com
Gift ideas for the teenage babysitter
Computer Mouse In Fun Prints
The Logitech® Tiger Mouse makes computing fun! Built for small- and medium-sized hands. Truly plug-and-play, the Tiger Mouse operates without any setup and provides smooth and accurate control on virtually any surface. It's perfect as a second mouse for your family computer at home, and is also a travel companion for use with your notebook. Wrap the Tiger Mouse's cord around its base, tuck it into your pocket, and it's ready to go with you on your next safari. Workswith both desktops and notebooks. Order by Dec. 16 to ensure Christmas delivery. www.logitech.com, $14.99
Design Annex iBeat Illuminating Headphones
Design Annex's new lava lamp-looking iBeat illuminating headphones are an ultra cool accessory for any iPod or MP3 player. Affordable, eye-catching glowing earbuds are available in your choice of six colors, with sound quality equivalent to Apple's iPod. The cord can be set to glow all the time or respond to the beat of your music. www.ibeatusa.com, $29.95
Gift ideas for the dog walker
Give your dog walker's feet a rest with these soft, cushioned terry velour slippers that will give feet the Cinderella treatment. Non-skid sole. Custom-embroidered with one initial. Small/Medium fits size 5-7. Medium/Large fits size 8-11. Lillian Vernon, $19.98; www.lillianvernon.com
Best of Show Gift to GoEverything a dogwalker will ever need, all in one box. This gift includes Bon Ton Doggie Pick-Up Kit, a package of Bon Ton Refills, a pair of Woof! Can Covers, a 1 quart Paw Prints Treat Container and Dog House Leash Hook — all wrapped up in an exclusive Container Store gift box to go. The Container Store, $41.99