The holiday shopping season is off to a tepid start, but just because consumers are skimping on holiday gifts this year, it doesn't mean they will be less generous when it comes to that time-honored tradition: the holiday tip.
A few business owners who spoke to CNBC said many clients are still tipping generously.
Cash tips handed out by well-heeled clients of New York-based maid service Maid Marines range in size, but can be as high as 70 percent of the cost of a visit. The tips can be so good, workers actually ask for more jobs around the holidays.
(Read more: 'Tis the season: Annual tipping guide)
"Most other people are trying to work less around this time, and my people are trying to work more," said Mike Wills, Jr., co-owner of the New York-based housekeeping service.
Courtney DeDi, founder and owner of DiOGi Pet Services in Atlanta, is not worried either. Her clients range in income and wealth, and the gratuities she receives can be anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the client.
"I'll kind of be interested to see how it is this year," DeDi said. "Even though the economy is down, people don't seem to skimp on their pets. They actually seem to spend more on them than anything else."
Not mandatory, but important
It is important to think of holiday tips as ways to thank the people who help you out throughout the year, rather than as a mandatory "quid pro quo obligation," according to Anna Post, an etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute.
(Read more: Mystery diner leaves thousands in tips)
Such gestures—even if they are small—show appreciation and can encourage loyalty.