Whether or not to tip, in what way and how much, are questions many homeowners ponder over the holidays. In searching for answers to these questions, the best advice out there probably comes from the Emily Post Institute. Established in 1946, after Post had received acclaim for her 1922 book, “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home”, the institute remains an iconic go-to source for good manners, even today.
Of course every homeowner has different relationships with the various service providers they come in contact with. For example, a home business may rely heavily on UPS or the U.S. Postal Service for regular pick-ups and delivery. A condo or apartment owner may depend on several individuals to keep their household running smoothly, such as the property’s handyman, parking garage attendant or doorman.
Another consideration is how much you can afford. Cash gifts can add up in a hurry and quite often, a simple homemade treat and thoughtful card are much appreciated. There are also strict guidelines for some service providers about which types of gifts they can receive, and many are required to share handouts with co-workers. In an effort to figure out who, what and how much, here are a few suggestions from the Emily Post Institute’s website regarding the guidelines for holiday tipping:
- Housekeeper-cash or a gift, or both-cash should equal at least one week’s pay
- Pool Cleaner-cash or a gift, or both-cash should equal the cost of one service
- Garage Attendant-cash or a gift-$10 to $30 in value
- Handyman-cash or a gift-$15 to $40 in value
- Trash Collectors-$10 to $30 for each worker
- Regular Lawn Maintenance crew-$20 to $50 each
- Newspaper Delivery Person-$10 to $30
- Mail Carrier-U.S. government regulations allow postal-service employees to accept gifts of up to $20 each, but cash isn’t allowed.
- UPS Drivers-not expected, but if you receive more than a fair number of packages over the holidays, showing your appreciation would reinforce the spirit of the season.
For more tipping guidelines for the holidays, visit this site:
The White House Gingerbread House
Since the 1960’s, a sweet tradition has been a big part of the holidays at the White House. This year, carrying on that tradition took nearly 175 pounds of gingerbread and close to 50 pounds of white chocolate! The result is a stunning, replica of the White House, circa pre-1798. That was the year the presidential mansion was painted in an effort to preserve its stone composition. This year’s gingerbread house is a representation of the mansion’s natural look, before it was whitewashed.
Executive Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses was in charge of this year’s masterpiece. He and his team worked on the confection’s components for more than six weeks. In addition to baking, decorating and wiring the house, one of their main goals was to match the color for an accurate depiction of the presidential palace, before it was actually painted.
The chef explained, “We matched the color from the unpainted parts of the walls that are down on the lower level.” To recreate the grayish white gingerbread, the bakers used a combination of rye, buckwheat and whole-wheat flour. This version of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weighs in at 300 pounds and is held together with a special spackle made of white chocolate! Much of the gingerbread dough was baked in intricate and architecturally accurate silicon molds.
The White House is a hugely popular stop for tourists, especially during the holiday season. It is estimated that close to 90,000 visitors will have the opportunity to see the amazing cookie mansion on display in the State Dining Room throughout the month of December.
Upon seeing the gingerbread version of the White House for the first time, First Lady Michele Obama exclaimed, “phenomenal!” And no wonder, it features her kitchen garden, the Obama’s dog, Bo, working electric lights, scenes in every window, rooms filled with chocolate furniture, and of course Santa is on the roof with his team of reindeer. It is very much like an extravagant dollhouse, except everything is made of gingerbread, candy, marzipan and spun sugar.
See it for yourself here! http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-2012-white-house-gingerbread-house.html