Monday, December 22, 2008

DCMM: The Tipping Season

As I write this in my cozy home festooned with Christmas lights and a tree with glittery presents piled beneath, I am happy to be in the midst of the Christmas Season. Although according to my calendar Christmas Season was suspended on Sunday—we are actually in the Tipping Season.

The Tipping Season occurs for several days in the week before Christmas. Christmas Season takes a hiatus and Tipping Season commences. For us, Tipping Season will be taking place December 22-23. Then Christmas Season recommences.

Tipping season is short but complicated.

Now, I'm not sure who made the executive decision that school bus drivers get cookies and the trash collectors get beer, but that's just how it is around here. I suppose it would be unseemly to collect your child off of the bus and hand up a six-pack to someone who is driving elementary school children home.

So I'll be making cookies this afternoon to hand out tomorrow. Because my two elementary school children—who come home from the same school—take two different buses and one of those buses has an aide, then I have to make three batches of cookies.

Then there are the aforementioned trash collectors. And their cousins, the recycling collectors. I have no idea how many people are on each of their trucks, but when my husband bought two six-packs for each group, it seemed sufficient. And divisible if necessary.

Although there's something a little weird about putting booze out on the street with a bow just in time for the high school kids to walk by on their way to school. Here's hoping we didn't "tip" a minor.

Next up is the mailman. (Or mail carrier. But in our case it really is a man.) We always forget to tip him. It's kind of a miracle that he's a good enough person to continually deliver our mail correctly.

I've heard rumors that you're not supposed to give your mail carrier cash and/or anything worth over $20. Which puts a crimp in my habit of putting a $20 bill in an envelope and then forgetting to give it to the guy.

This year, we got him a gift card. My husband has instructed me to lay in wait around mail time to make sure that it is our regular guy delivering the mail instead of a sub. Because it would be tragic to remember to tip the guy and then tip the wrong guy.

Of course, there are teacher gifts to give as well. These are not technically tips but are delivered within the window of the Tipping Season, so they count.

When I was a kid, I had a teacher. You know, one teacher. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how many people teach my kids at their schools. My first grader apparently spends about half his day in one class and half his day in another, plus he goes to specials with yet more teachers, and then there's the support staff...

But I'm not independently wealthy so I'm sticking with two for him.

My kindergartner is another story. Because he is a special ed student and a student having trouble adjusting as well, he has gotten tremendous support from nearly every adult in the building. I would go bankrupt thanking all of them with gifts. So I'm sticking to his teacher and the two aides/educators who help him out the most.

The counselor, the librarian, the principal, the assistant principal, everyone who helps drag him out of the car in the morning or who brings him back after he runs away will merely get my eternal gratitude.

I had planned for all of these people and was feeling pretty good about myself when I read a tweet from someone who had finished purchasing therapist gifts. Dammit! Therapists! So off to the store I went for gifts for my kindergartner's occupational therapist, speech therapist, and social skills group therapist.

Do you see yet why I call it the tipping season?

And if I forgot someone completely crucial, I'm not sure I want to know.

My husband and I are passing out a lot of gifts and tips over the next couple of days. But I have to say that it's worth it. It's really a small thing to buy a bookstore gift card for a teacher who goes out of her way to help my child. Or to bake cookies for the bus driver who brings my son home safe every day.

Or to put out some beer for the people who take away all of my trash so I don't have to.

In fact, I wish I could do more.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

See evidence of how all the people Jean tips during Tipping Season make her life better for the remainder of the year at Stimeyland.

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