Tipping in the Florida Keys where temperatures are tepid and tourists abound is customary where ever you go any time of the year. Before we usher in Baby New Year, a reminder: consider customary holiday tips to the service providers who take the time to trim your hair, teach your tots, take care of your trash, and polish your peds so you can face the world head-on! But how much and to whom do you share the extra dough? The Weekly Newspapers asked some residents and service providers in the Southernmost City to find out what’s expected.

“Definitely the garbage man. They’re probably the number one people I tip because they have the hardest job on the planet!”

Mary-Lynne Schultz, owner of Starboard Financial, a financial service company representing telecom employees, splits her time between her historic hide-a-way in Old Town Key West, and Annapolis, Maryland. No matter what state she’s in, during the holidays she figures out what her trash pick-up men wet their palates with.

“I usually tip them in liquor. They like that,” the east coast entrepreneur expresses.

What also works, “money,” according to Michael Attech a masseur originally from Maine. “Regular clients they usually give you something around the holidays, a hundred dollars, or a bottle of wine, or home baked goods.”

Charlie Taylor, a stylist at Maricelas Beauty Salon on Key West’s White Street says she doesn’t expect anything extra.

“Sometimes they bring a gift,” she notes.

But, according to numerous online web sites, tipping your hairstylist should be habit, at least an extra $20, or the cost of your cut, color, and blow-dry.

Customary Holiday Tips
Profession       Average Gift
Hairdresser           $20
Teacher               $20
Cleaning Person       $50
Child Care Provider   $38
Manicurist             $20
Newspaper Carrier   $20
Pet Sitter             $25
Lawn Care Worker   $25
Fitness Instructor     $25
Sanitation Worker   $20

Michael feels with his regular clients shouldn’t feel obligated to tip.

“They come to me every week and allow me to make a living giving massages. I don’t really want their tip. They’re the reason why I’m successful.”

Attech typically tips his mailman. Schultz does the same.

“We usually don’t give him cash,” she explains. “He has a sweet tooth so I usually give him some package of candy.”

Civil servants are not allowed to receive cash gifts. Only non-cash presents with a value of up to $20.

So, while cash is king, for some gifts are great. As long as they’re appropriate.

A hand bag for your nanny or theatre tickets for an assistant, just be smart about your gesture so the gift doesn’t end up as part of their work, as did one year for Mary-Lynne.

“I tried being sly and taped it to the inside of the lid and they threw open the lid and broke the bottle of liquor!”




13-month old Cayden Pribramsky doesn’t have a nanny or a baby-sitter. His parents Robin and Steve take the kids everywhere, or rely on family. But if you do employ someone to watch your tots on a regular basis remember to reward them for their work. Cayden




Maricela Diaz of Maricela Beauty Salon trims the hair of 26-year old Maiby Martinez at her salon on Key West’s White Street. The hairstylists don’t expect tips here, but holiday tipping for lush locks is customary!



Mary-Lynne Schultz, who owns a historic hide-a-way on Fleming Street tips her sanitation workers with liquor! The other service staff on top of her list are those at her yacht club. “I do go to the yacht club an awful lot. That’s a service I use all the time, so I’m very happy tipping those folks.”  Mary Lynne




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