How holiday tipping might be different during COVID-19 pandemic

Those who typically tip people around the holidays might reevaluate how they do that this year — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people minimize handling cash amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The two big differences this year are staying away from cash and not providing home-baked goods,” said Sharon Schweitzer, an etiquette expert, author and the founder of Access to Culture. “They’re highly recommending we stay away from cash.”

Alternatives to cash include gift cards and using payment apps such as PayPal, Venmo or Cash App.

Instead of money, consider a retail or prepackaged holiday item, gift basket or local artisan items that help support the business community.

Times are tough and money can be tight, so people may be forced to prioritize who they are giving to this year. Schweitzer has tips for figuring out who to tip. “Who helps you most frequently? Those are the people that go at the top of the tipping list,” she said.

Some might consider whether tipping is something to put on hold this year.

“It’s really important to budget first and calculate how much you’re willing and able to spend, because holiday tipping is not an obligation,” Schweitzer said.

If you want to show appreciation, holiday gestures of gratitude don’t have to be budget-busters.

“Handwritten appreciation notes are always something that people really enjoy receiving,” Schweitzer said.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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