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Have you started handing out Christmas gratuities yet? Were you tempted to give less than last year on account of the economy? The Times reports today on the effect the recession is having on the people who depend on cash-stuffed envelopes this time of year, like doormen, building supers, housekeepers, and nannies. Many New Yorkers, not surprisingly, report that they plan to be less generous than in previous years, although they also fret about the consequences of giving less. ("Will their packages be signed for when they are not home? Will their guests be dropped off at the right floor? Will they have to wait while someone else's toilet is unclogged before theirs is?")

It's unclear what will happen if you follow the example of Scott Krauthamer, an asset manager who says he plans to cut holiday tips by 25 percent and give his doormen $75 instead of $100. But we're fairly certain that if you gave your doorman a wad of cash last Christmas and you take this etiquette expert's advice and give him "a token gift" this year, "such as a small box of chocolates or homemade cookies," you'll be opening your own door and carrying your own packages for the next year. But you can always chalk it up to a little extra exercise. And that might not be such a bad thing now that you've been forced to cancel your Equinox membership.

Budgeting Holiday Tips During a Recession [NYT]