Happy Holidays to You and Everyone Around You!

You have presented the presents to your loved ones this holiday season. Now, how about those that make your life in and out of your home a little easier?
During these tough economic times, it’s even more important to say thank you to those around you. And, it’s possible to do so without breaking the bank.
Here are some people you should include on your list of holiday gifts this year:
*Cleaning person: If you have someone scrubbing your toilets weekly to monthly, it is customary to gift that person the amount it costs for one cleaning. If you utilize a cleaning team and don’t want to hand out checks to all, a big box or individual boxes of candy will do just fine.
*Babysitter: If you have used one frequently throughout the year or in emergency situations, double the pay one night as a thank you. Nannies should get one full week’s pay as a gift. It would be nice to throw in a card handmade by your kid.
*Mail person: The U.S. Postal Service forbids letter carriers from accepting cash or any gift over $20 in value. Candy, chocolate, hot chocolate with a mug or a $10 gift certificate to Starbucks would be perfect for the person who lugs your magazines and catalogs through wind, rain, sleet or snow.
*Newspaper delivererer: Many of these early risers will provide cards in your newspapers with an envelope that includes their address. It is proper to stuff that envelope with $10 to $30, depending on how close that paper gets to your door each day.
*Water deliverer: He lugs your heavy gallons of goodness; mine even takes them into the garage for me. A cash tip of $10 to $20 or one of the things suggested for the mail person would be nice.
*Garbage and recycling collectors: Etiquette says to tip these guys $10 to $20, but some municipalities forbid workers from accepting cash. Consider leaving a nice jar or box of nuts or candy for each.
*Lawn crew: These guys miss out, since they are pretty scarce during winter. If you have a service you really value, however, send a cash gift through the mail. Mine will be getting a check this year, not as a gift, as payment I still owe from summer!
*Condo concierge: Use them a lot, $20 to $100 would be nice. Not as much? Consider a bottle of wine or a gift certificate to a local eatery.
Does everyone in this economy want money? Yes, cash is king, but if you just can’t, consider something from the heart. Bake some brownies, cupcakes or cookies, stick them in a nice tin or box or even on a pretty paper plate and present them with care. Even a simple card expressing your appreciation would go a long way.
Oh, forgot one more:
*Your favorite Chicago real estate website: Your patronage is gift enough for us.
Happy holidays!