One of the recent messages at my church Bridgewater in Conklin was about being generous and it is that time of year. Tis the season to be tipping, fa la la la la la la la la! Christmas is almost here and it's time to figure out what to tip to those who do things for us all year long.

I'm glad the 'Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette' exists because if an idiot can't guide me through the Christmas season, then who can? Here's what they say...and here is what I say.

Babysitter or nanny:  They say: One week's pay and a small gift.

Me: I tried to give the babysitter the gift of laughter once by telling what I thought was a funny joke. What kind of lights did Noah use on the Ark?

I'll give the answer at the end, but I'll tell you that our sitter didn't appreciate the gift and in hindsight, I don't blame her.

Trash collectors: They say: 15 to 20 dollars per person.

Me: Probably more. I hear that the trash collectors at my place have muttered the words, "Don't they ever tie the garbage bags."  Sorry about that.

Hairdresser: They say: The equivalent of one session or pay 25 dollars if you're not a regular salon-goer.

Me: 25 is more than all my sessions combined.  I see my hairstylist(?) twice a year.  I always go on a Tuesday because it's only 11 bucks.

So here's the answer to my earlier joke: Flood lights!

It doesn't take an idiot to figure out what you should tip, but I don't mind if an idiot helps me out.  Merry Christmas to all of you who help us out!

In all seriousness, if you want to be more generous with your money all the time, not just during the Christmas season than check this out.

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