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Holiday tipping: A stress-free guide to giving

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Don't skip the tip this holiday season

It's known as "the most wonderful time of the year," but for some, gifting and tipping can be a major source of confusion and stress during the holidays.

Experts say the first step is to stop looking at tipping as an obligation but rather a desire to thank someone. Monetarily, experts say, consumers shouldn't feel compelled to break the bank.

"It doesn't have to be anything big. It should be something thoughtful," said etiquette expert and owner of the Protocol School of Texas, Diane Gottsman. "Everybody has a different budget, but when you're giving from the heart, you're not looking for something equal in return."

While consumer sentiment rose in November and the better-than-expected October U.S. jobs report could indicate an upswing in holiday generosity, the stress attached to holiday gifting and tipping might not necessarily decrease.

While people are generally more generous when they have a bit more to spend, stick to your budget, not a suggested list of recipients. Carefully budgeting and narrowing down exactly whom you will be tipping or gifting during the holiday season, will keep you on track, Gottsman said.

Still afraid to make a holiday gifting faux pas? CNBC has you covered. Click ahead to see the full list of whom to tip and how much.

By CNBC's Ritika Shah and Kristine Mamanta
Posted 24 Nov. 2015

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