It’s hard to know what to tip those people who provide services to you throughout the year as you budget your Christmas gift-giving.

Diane Gottsman runs the Protocol School of Texas and is an etiquette expert.  She offers the rules of the road:

Babysitters – a cash gift equivalent to one night’s pay

Teacher – something small, and don’t forget the teacher’s aid.

Mailman – government regulations prohibit mail carriers to accept cash gifts.  A small, non-monetary gift is best.

Hairstylist – a cash equivalent to one visit

Housekeeper – if they come once a week, equivalent to one week’s pay.  If they come daily, cash equivalent of one week’s worth.

Pet groomer – a cash gift equal to one service

As for work, that can be a landmine, says Gottsman.  “The protocol is that you don’t have to gift your boss.  Now, that sounds a little bit cold except that you tend to gift down rather than up.”  Gottsman recommends bringing in something for the entire office like your favorite fudge.