Holiday Help Has Arrived!

The holidays are approaching and it is our hope that this white paper will encourage planning in advance, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable season. In our experience, households that sail through the holidays utilize many of the best practices listed below.


  • Establish a holiday binder to update throughout the year – to include:
    • This year’s holiday card and any prior year’s holiday cards
    • Gifts received with a place to note that the person was thanked
    • A list of people to give gifts to
    • A list of people you tip
    • Personal staff year-end bonus history
    • Create a mailing list and shipping and return log. We believe a well-run home has a shipping/receiving log for everything that goes in and out for the holidays as well as throughout the year.
  • Determine who on your team is responsible for maintaining the holiday binder.
  • Think about your gift ideas for personal and business contacts and start purchasing early.
  • Buy multiples of gifts – this can be very efficient.
  • Inventory holiday supplies early (cards, gift wrap, bows, FedEx labels, packing materials, etc.) and order extra to have plenty on-hand.

Holiday Cards:

  • If you send cards at the holidays, determine when you want the cards to be mailed and work back 8 weeks. Plan time for reviewing recipients, addressing, signing cards.
  • Design holiday card from family (schedule photo session early if needed) – order extra cards and envelopes.
  • Design holiday card from office – order extra cards and envelopes.
  • Order plenty of stamps.​


  • Develop holiday timeline (e.g. card mailing date, entertaining/event dates, gift-sending dates).
  • Determine holiday hours and time-off preferences for staff/house.
  • Advise your goal date for office/home staff to request holiday time-off.
  • Determine if you will need temporary staff to cover for people on vacation and plan ahead.
  • Make your travel plans as early as possible and share your schedule with your home and office staff. This allows your staff to plan ahead.
  • If visiting another home, be sure all home(s) are prepared for the holidays.
  • We think it is important to have a lunch or end-of-year toast with your house staff. If you like this idea, schedule early.
  • As the invitations roll in, consider carving out a few nights at home.​

Holiday Giving:

  • Prepare your gifting list: (family, staff, friends).
  • Budget year-end bonuses for home and office staff.
  • Prepare your tip list (consult latest tipping guides to determine appropriate amounts)
    • Business – vendors, doorman, mailperson, maintenance, cleaning crew, etc.
    • Personal – Physicians, beauticians, coaches, teachers, gardener, mailperson, etc.
  • Seek out volunteer opportunities for business and personal – donate time/give back (e.g. holiday food for homeless shelter and other seasonal charities).
  • The principals of Visual Therapy, a New York-based company that provides personal shopping, closet organization and other style consulting services for many of our clients, have prepared the top gift ideas for everyone on your gift list – please have a look!


  • Assign point person to plan the holiday family dinner/celebration.
  • Create and send invitations for holiday celebrations you are having – either digital or printed.
  • Assign point person to plan the holiday office party/celebration (be mindful of culinary likes/dislikes, allergies and vegetarian food preferences).
  • Prepare itinerary and manage RSVPs for social entertaining and charitable events.


  • Keep office holiday décor neutral and/or respect different religious holidays e.g. Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.
  • Prepare décor for holidays at home.
  • Consult helpful websites (e.g. Pinterest) for decorating ideas and be sure to order in advance.

Since 1989, Mahler Private Staffing has refined our placement process to meet a single objective – match each client’s unique needs with the right staff. Widely recognized for our meticulous standards, broad service offerings, personalized approach, and exclusive network of top household, childcare, and office professionals, we are proud to have grown entirely through repeat business and referrals from satisfied clients.

We welcome a call from you any time with additional thoughts or questions. Please call us at (414) 347-1350 and ask for Barbara Jensen or Peter Mahler.