2021 Holiday Tips Survey: The Results are IN!

Here are the key findings from the annual Park Slope Parents Holiday Tips Survey, in which Brooklyn residents report their upcoming end-of-year gifts to service providers, nannies, and teachers.

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  • New Yorkers’ generosity has leveled off. While last year three in ten reported paying MORE in 2020 than 2019, this year, more people are paying the same in 2021 as they did in 2020. Fortunately, levels have stayed higher and not decreased, with only four percent saying they are paying less.
  •  Giving your nanny one week’s pay as a bonus continues to be standard. Of those who report giving a bonus related to weekly pay, 69 percent give one week’s pay, while 31 percent give more than that, which is a higher percentage than prior years. 
  • Gifts for K-12 teachers have leveled off. The amount people are giving to K-12 teachers has decreased slightly from last year, even though $50 continues to be the most frequently given amount. During 2020, when teachers had to pivot to new platforms and handle increased safety measures without increased pay, tips ticked up.
    Learn more about holiday gifts for teachers, including do’s and don’ts, in the Park Slope Parents’ website article How to Thank Teachers at the Holidays & End of the Year.
  • A little (or big) thanks goes a long way. From crossing guards to hair stylists to accountants to after-school staff, tutors, and therapists, there’s a wide range of people who you’ve likely crossed paths with over the past year. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so if you can, take time to extend a kind gesture to those who have helped support your day-to-day life! If you’re able to tip folks, please do; if you’re not, a written recognition is wonderful too.



Personal Neighborhood Service Providers


2021 Data Average Tip/Gift


2020 Average Tip/Gift

2019 Average Tip/Gift






House Cleaner





Daytime Doorman





Dog Walker





Nighttime Doorman










Hair Stylist





Parking Attendant





Cat Sitter**





Package Delivery (non-USPS)





USPS Mail Carrier





NYSD Garbage/Truck Recycling***










*Mode is defined as the most frequently mentioned tip/gift amount

**Cat sitter is a new category, and wasn't included in the totals to make more accurate cross-year comparisons. 

***Note from a PSP member on tipping sanitation workers: "After last year going out at 5:30am in the freezing cold in a nightgown to chase down two very dismayed Sanitation Workers with a bag of homemade granola and a very modest cash tip, only to worry that I'd inadvertently bribed them, and that my real gift to them was a story to tell at their Christmas dinner tables, I vowed this year to make a donation to the Sanitation Foundation instead. If you're not familiar with them, they're the not-for-profit wing of the DSNY (like NYPD Foundation or Friends of FDNY). Their mission is to support the DSNY workforce and advance the city's zero-waste goals - very cool. Highly recommend you check them out."


Daycare, Preschool, K-12 Teachers, and Others

  •  Participation in joint class gifts to K-12 teachers is up, likely because kids are back in school. For those who do combine gifts, parents use websites and apps including Frumus, Venmo, Payit2, and Signup Genius to organize and pool donations.


Type of Teacher

Average Tip/Gift 2021


Average Tip/Gift 2020



Head Teacher






Secondary Teacher





K-12 Teacher*





Special Services Teacher





Crossing Guards





Bus Drivers 





*Is it against the DOE policy to give teachers gifts? NO. It is NOT the case that Department of Education K-12 teachers cannot (or should not) receive gifts. Department of Education policy states: “Teachers may accept class gifts as long as parents are not asked to contribute more than a small amount of money towards the gift and all parents are given an opportunity to sign the card, whether or not they contribute to the gift.” However, be reasonable—extravagant gifts could get your teacher in hot water!

  • Other school-support people include crossing guards, school staff, special services teachers, bus drivers, and crossing guards. If you’re looking to thank everyone who makes a school function, remember to include these folks!



  • ALL of the respondents (98 percent) say they are using the holidays as an opportunity to give a yearly bonus or gifts to their nannies. Fifty percent also give a non-monetary gift of some kind. As always, a heartfelt note with sincere gratitude (perhaps a list of specific things you appreciate) always warms the heart and makes folks feel special. (Feel free to do this for EVERYONE in your life!) 
  • 83 percent of employers give an amount incremental to a week’s pay. Specifically, 77 percent give a week’s pay, 22 percent give two week’s pay, and 2 percent give three week’s pay.
  • Nannies will receive an average of $1023 for their end-of-year bonus. 

Hours Worked

Average Amount 2021

Average Amount 2020

Average Amount 2019

Average Amount 2015

Full-time (over 40 hours/week) (54%of respondents)





Part-time (16-40 hours)    (34% of respondents)





Part-time (up to 15 hours) (12% of respondents)





OVERALL Average 





Range: $50 - $5,000

  • Caveat: Has your nanny worked for less than a year? If a nanny has worked for less than a year but more than three months, most employers give at least a half-week of pay. Inform your nanny that you intend to give (at least) a full week’s pay next year, if things work out. Also, if you give bonuses on anniversaries rather than the end of the year, remind them of that timeline.
    Since newer nannies (those who have worked less than three months) may feel left out without a bonus, we suggest giving a bonus proportional to the amount of time worked. Again, make sure to offer an explanation of your reasoning, and tell them what they can expect next year. Clarity about when your nanny can expect raises and bonuses is key.
  • IMPORTANT: Don’t assume a week off without pay is something that your nanny will appreciate. If they are available, many would rather work for pay than lose a paycheck. 



Park Slope Parents collected 436 responses from November 23rd–December 4th, 2020, via an online survey program (surveymonkey.com). The survey was distributed online through the Park Slope Parents website, PSP email groups and social media outlets, online blogs, and other online parenting/neighborhood groups on platforms such as Facebook and Groups.io. The results are based on tips and gifts in Brooklyn only.



  •  Park Slope Parents (PSP) is a Brooklyn-based community of more than 7,000 local families who offer each other support and community throughout the parenting experience.
  • PSP online resources include a public website with member reviews, parenting advice, and online forums. These include an Advice/Community Group (for exchanging information about parenting and community issues); a Classifieds list (a local buy/sell/trade group for swapping kid gear and finding nannies); and a Career Networking Group, which connects parents to jobs and professional resources. PSP also has over 150 subgroups, including pregnancy groups and new parent groups, and groups for dads, working moms, bilingual families, LGBTQ+ parents, workers from all industries, cooks, garders, families with allergies, vegetarians and more.
  • PSP offers in-person and virtual events, including parenting workshops, clothing swaps, community fundraisers, and networking meet-ups.
  •  PSP partners with non-profits such as Women in Need, Little Essentials, Brooklyn Book Bodega, and local Mutual Aid organizations to provide donations to those in need.
  • PSP sponsors community events such as the Celebrate Brooklyn Concerts, Prospect Park Alliance events, and more.
  • Park Slope Parents is open to all parents in Brooklyn and requires an annual membership fee of $55 ($50 for renewals) to support ongoing services (like this Holiday Tips Survey). Membership includes discounts to hundreds of local products and services.
  • Parents in Brooklyn can apply for membership here.