Holiday tips: not-so-subtle hint

We recently started getting a newspaper delivered in the morning. The delivery person put a holiday greeting card in today’s paper, with her address listed. Are we supposed to send her a tip?

Well, that’s the suggestion from her, and it is pretty customary to send a check. Back in the days when neighborhood children had paper routes and had to collect payment for the paper every week, a small tip was usually added to the fee. Now that adults do this job, it’s a perpetuation of that custom, even though you probably have never even seen the delivery person. It’s up to you, but it is a way to thank her for her services, assuming she does a good job.

One of my clients just gave me a very expensive present of a beautiful winter coat for my young daughter. I didn’t have a holiday gift for him and don’t even know what to do about this. Should I get him a gift now?

No, that could establish an awkward situation that becomes unending. It is unlikely that he expects anything in return, but it would be nice to take a picture of your daughter happily wearing the coat to enclose with a heartfelt thank-you note from you, along with a picture drawn by your daughter that you explain is a thank-you from her. Generosity doesn’t command reciprocity in kind, but it does require sincere and prompt thanks.

We just had a party and one of our guests somehow became totally inebriated. I didn’t know what to do other than not to let her have anything else to drink, manage to find and hide her car keys, and leave my party to take her home because she also became disruptive and was ruining the party. She was annoyed by all of that and let it be known that I was rude and uncaring. What should I have done?

You did exactly the right things. She may have felt insulted, but at least she didn’t harm herself or others while in an unstable condition, thanks to your caring actions. (Not to mention that in many states, had you let her leave your home and drive, should she have caused an accident, you would have been held liable for her condition and any injuries that occurred whether to her or to others.) Ideally, she will find it within herself to apologize and to thank you for your kindness.

I have sent holiday cards and have received several, a couple from people to whom I didn’t send a card. Should I quick get more cards and get them in the mail to those people?

You can, or, if you are out of cards and time, think about responding with a note or letter after the holidays when you may have more time. There’s no obligation to send holiday cards, but it is nice to keep communication two-way, any time of the year.

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