BUSINESS + ECONOMY

If you tip more during Christmas, are you feeling generous or pressured?

Dec 5, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:38 pm

Christmas tip...

(Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — During the Christmas holiday, almost 60% of Americans say they will tip more or the same as last season.

That’s despite inflation and higher prices according to a new Bankrate survey. But only 13 percent say they’re decreasing how much they tip.

But are tips increasing because it’s the Christmas season and tippers are feeling more festive, generous, or grateful? Or are they feeling obligated to tip because they don’t want to appear stingy?

Facts not feelings

Financial planner Shane Stewart, with Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators, pointed to the economy for answers. He said the unemployment rate is relatively low, and consumer sentiment is holding solid during this holiday season.

“It’s a great combination to feel generous this time of year and feel like you have the money. That’s probably why tipping is going up,” he said.

And while feeling generous is “fantastic,” Stewart said, be aware of how much you have budgeted to spend or tip this Christmas season. And stick to your budget. 

“I’m all for generosity. I think that’s a great thing as long as … it’s kept within the bounds that you have available to you because then you might be on the other end next year if you’ve given away too much,” he said.

Pressured to tip

Stewart added that the people who say they will tip more this Christmas may be feeling “obligated” to do so because shoppers have a screen in front of them at the point of sale, pressuring them to tip.

“I think a lot of folks feel obligated to tip. You get that … screen flipped around. And my favorite is they don’t say ‘Would you like to tip?’ They say ‘You need to answer this question.’ Yeah, they don’t even want to talk to you about a tip, but they want the tip.”

Stewart said if you get the pressure or obligation to give a tip, take a moment to reflect.

“I think it’s a lot about the obligation rather than the desire to give, and that is where we should stop and say, ‘OK, I got that feeling of obligation. How do I deal with that in the moment rather than just expect me to make the tip?’ ”

Who do you tip?

Should you tip your letter carrier this Christmas? Stewart said it depends on the relationship you have with that worker, including others, such as housekeepers, nannies, childcare providers, landscapers, drivers, etc.

“You should be able to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to tip this person because we have this relationship or because I rely on them heavily for that service — not just because you feel obligated,” he said.

“We have to train our brains to get out of the guilt part and get into the intentional giving, the intentional spending.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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If you tip more during Christmas, are you feeling generous or pressured?