How much to tip this holiday season

The holiday season is traditionally the time we choose to thank those who provide us with year-round service.

In these tough economic times it's important to remember that holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you, but with a little creativity, you can accommodate those on your list without blowing your budget.

Etiquette expert Catherine Holloway says that "this is a great time to say thank you and to say I appreciate what you've done for me and how you take care of me."

Sometimes figuring who to tip and how much can add to holiday stress.

Holloway says to think of those services you use consistently throughout the year "this is the time to really build up on these relationships and make them stronger," she says.

Those on you must tip list are hair stylists, babysitters and tutors.

Their holiday bonus should be what you would normally pay for one service.

But what if your budget doesn't allow for the expense?

A nice card or a box of chocolates will do.

"They're going to appreciate the gesture they're not going to say 'oh, she gave me chocolates instead of $55', they're not going to think like that," says Holloway.

What about your pet groomer, favorite teller or the dry cleaner? Offer a gift everyone can share.

"What's nice about the holidays, if you have these relationships, it's great to acknowledge it," says Holloway.

Don't forget about you favorite postal carrier. They are not allowed to accept cash, checks of gifts over $20.

Holloway says "you want to make sure that you literally hand it to the person, and that way you have the eye contact with the person who is providing the service."

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