Christmas is the time of the annual tipping frenzy - both for domestic employees and regular service-providers.
First and foremost, you are tipping for service. If you have received good service throughout the year then you are expected to provide a Christmas 'box'. It is, of course, your prerogative to refuse if you feel service has been inadequate.
Recommended Christmas Tips
Nannies/Au pairs: These invaluable employees are almost part of our family and are entrusted with our precious children. They certainly deserve a reward at Christmas, and should not be fobbed off with cheap and tacky presents.
Give your nanny or au pair the equivalent of a week's wages at Christmas. Also give them a present, perhaps saying it's 'from the children'.
Babysitters: If you have a regular babysitter who you use throughout the year, it's a good idea to give him/her an extra £5 or £10 at Christmas.
Cleaners: Another invaluable helper throughout the year, your cleaner deserves a proper Christmas bonus - at least a week's extra wages would be appropriate.
Milkman: It is customary to tip the milkman during the Christmas season - a fiver wrapped up in a note saying "thanks and happy Christmas" will make an adequate gift when he collects the empties.
Dustmen: Councils are beginning to prohibit the dustman from soliciting a Christmas box (many a householder has cowered behind the net curtains when the dustmen come calling). However it is still quite common to thrust a £5 note in your dustman's hand, while muttering "have a Christmas drink" or words to that effect.
Postman: It is by no means de rigueur to tip the postman, though some households feel obliged to reward a regular postie, especially if he has to negotiate a long drive, uphill climb, aggressive dog etc. A £5 tip would be generous.
Paper Boy or Girl: If you have a regular daily delivery of newspapers (or even regular deliveries at weekends), you should give at least £5 (this rule does not apply to the boys and girls who deliver free newspapers, which you have not actually requested).
Your Children's Teachers: When your children are at infant and junior school it is a nice custom for them to give their class teachers a Christmas card and a small gift (e.g. bottle of wine, soap, box of chocolates, house plant). This is a generous gesture, and the kids will enjoy handing over the present. The custom does not persist in secondary school.