2020 Holiday Tips Survey: The Results are IN!

The findings from the 2020 annual Park Slope Parents Holiday Tips Survey, in which Brooklyn residents report their upcoming end-of-year gifts to service providers, nannies, and teachers.

pile of Japanese lucky cat

 Key Findings

·         New Yorkers are being more generous this year. Three in ten are paying MORE this year than last year, with two out of three paying about the same. Only four percent say they are paying less.

·         Doorman buildings have their costs. Living in a doorman building with a super, door hosts and porter will cost you an extra $400 in tips this year.

·         Giving your housecleaner one week’s pay as a bonus is standard. Of those who report giving a bonus related to weekly pay, 89 percent give one week’s pay, while 21 percent give more than that.

·         Gifts for K-12 teachers are up. The amount people are giving to K-12 teachers is up from last year. The most frequent amount given to teachers is $50, but this year’s average increased from $45 to $60. During the pandemic, these teachers have had to pivot to new platforms and handle increased safety measures without increased pay, so a generous tip seems well-deserved!

·         Daycare and preschool teachers will also feel more love this year. While the most frequently mentioned monetary gift for both head and secondary teachers is $50, averages are up this year ($83 for head teachers, $64 for secondary). Unlike K-12, parents typically give separately rather than as a group/class gift, with two out of three (68 percent) giving an individual gift.

·         Tips to neighborhood service providers are UP from prior years. Reported tips for supers, door security, package delivery, and other neighborhood services are up from last year. Last year’s figures had dropped from the prior year. This year, three in ten report giving a token of appreciation (homemade baked goods, alcohol, crafts).

·         Folks are showing gratitude with added gifts. One in three (32 percent) are giving something more than cash (homemade cookies, treats, wine) to their service providers.

·         Almost all employers (98 percent) with nannies plan on giving a monetary bonus this year. The standard holiday bonus is a week’s pay (77% give this amount). The increase in average holiday bonus is over $200.

·         Thank everyone. A kind gesture to the people that support your family’s day-to-day life (e.g., crossing guards, hair stylists, accountants, after-school staff, tutors, and therapists) goes a long way. These folks love to feel appreciated too! We understand that there are many folks who have lost their jobs in this economy, but if you can, give; and if you can’t, a written recognition is wonderful too.    


Personal Neighborhood Service Providers


Average Tip/Gift


Difference from 2019





House Cleaner




Daytime Doorman




Dog Walker




Nighttime Doorman








Hair Stylist




Parking Attendant




Package Delivery (non-USPS)




USPS Mail Carrier




New York Sanitation Department Garbage/Truck Recycling




Crossing Guards









Daycare, Preschool, K-12 Teachers, and Others

·         Participation in joint class gifts to K-12 teachers has dropped this year from 88 to 72 percent, likely because of remote and blended learning. Some people mentioned that there weren’t classroom parent helpers this year. For those who do combine gifts, parents use websites and apps like Frumus, Venmo, Payit2 and Signup Genius to organize and pool donations.

·         *Learn more about holiday gifts for teachers, including do’s and don’ts, in the Park Slope Parents’ website articleHow to Thank Teachers at the Holidays & End of the Year.

Type of Teacher

Average Tip/Gift 2020


Average Tip/Gift 2019

Preschool/Daycare Head Teacher



$65 (+$18)

Preschool/Daycare Secondary Teacher



$51 (+$13)

K-12 Teacher*



$45 (+$15)

Special Services Teacher



$33 (+$28)

After-School Service Provider



$33 (+$17)

*Is it against the DOE policy to give teachers gifts? 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, and crossing guards. If you’re looking to thank everyone who makes a school function, remember to include these folks!

·         Pandemic praise for daycare/preschool pivoters. This year, we asked an open-ended question about daycares/preschools and the way they have handled things during the pandemic. Considering the confusing and changing city and state guidelines schools have had to contend with, plus the increased costs of PPE and cleaning supplies, if you are happy with your daycare or preschool, a heartfelt note could go a long way for the owners as well as the teachers. Here’s some of the praise members shared for their daycares and schools this year:

·         “I am extremely grateful for all the essential people in our life this year, who we know we could not do without - daycare/school, deliveries, etc.”

·         “I lost my job in the spring due to pandemic, but I feel like it’s important to still give the same amount of money to daycare because they’ve risked their health this year for my kid.”

·         “Small in-home daycares are the way to go for flexibility and likelihood of staying open during pandemics - mine was a godsend.”

·         “Our daughter's school has been wonderful. Very clear and frequent communication. Strict safety procedures and commitment from the other class families to stay careful and safe for the benefit of keeping the class going. The school is following DOH guidelines if a child or child's family member tests positive. There is no mixing of staff or children between different classes. They have high quality air filtration, everyone wears masks, diligent cleaning protocols and have reduced items the school either provides (for lunch/snack) or we can bring (stuff animals). It has been such a gift for our daughter and for us to have her attend to have social time and learning. Also important for us (her parents) to have reliable child care so we can work.”

·         “Our day care reopened in August and that’s when we started, best decision for us all!  Our day care is now registered as supporting essential workers which helps me feel like this winter we have a good plan in place. It was definitely nerve wracking thinking about sending her but that quickly melted away once we were doing it.”

·         “We've had a wonderful experience so far at XXX. In March the school went virtual, but made countless modifications to open safely and as scheduled in September. XXX is cautious, flexible, and providing a modicum of normalcy for our kiddo during these difficult and dynamic times. Also, our three year old (October baby) is a pro at wearing a mask and taking precautions because of the ‘germs,’ which I attribute to the gentle approach by his teachers to encourage the kids to wear their masks. We are so appreciative of the administration, teachers, and fellow parents for all the effort to reach the shared goal of keeping the school open, so long as it is safe to do so.”



·         ALL of the respondents (100 percent) say they are using the holidays as an opportunity to give a yearly bonus or gifts to their nannies.

·         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.

·         The average end-of-year bonus nannies  will receive is $905.

Nanny Situation

Average Amount 2020

Average Amount 2019

Average Amount 2015

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




Part-time (16-40 hours)    (21 percent of respondents)




Part-time (up to 15 hours) (25 percent of respondents)




OVERALL Average for Nannies




Range: $50 - $3,000.

·         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. Make sure to inform your nanny that you intend to give 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 worth about two to three days pay. 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.

·         ALSO: 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 miss out on money to support their family.

·         As always, a heartfelt note with sincere gratitude (perhaps a list of specific things you appreciate) always warms the heart and makes folks special and thanked. (Feel free to do that for EVERYONE in your life!) 


Park Slope Parents collected 460 responses from December 7–December 14th, 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 6,500 local families who offer each other support and community throughout the parenting experience.

·         PSP online resources include a public website with member reviews and parenting advice and online forums, including an Advice/Community Group (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 and new parents, dads, working moms, bilingual, LGBTQ, industry-related career, cooking, gardening, allergy, vegetarian and more.

·         PSP offers in-person and virtual events, including parenting workshops, clothing swaps, community fundraisers, and networking meet-ups.

·         PSP partners with nonprofits such as the Brooklyn Family Justice Center, Little Essentials, Sheltering Arms, and Lantern Community Services 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 $50 ($45 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: https://parkslopeparents.clubexpress.com/