Saturday, November 12, 2011


It was just about this time last year that I published this post about aguinaldos for mail carriers and employees, be they part or full-time.  I believe it is worth publishing again as a reminder to all of us living in Mexico.  So, here it is again:

Yes, it is definitely that time of year. It all starts with the mail carriers who have their special day on November 12, Dia del Cartero. In your mail box, they will leave a card with a return envelope, preprinted with their name on it. (Convenient, huh?)

You simply insert your “gift” as a token of appreciation for their service for the past year. I think they must like me because I actually participate in giving, partially because I have always given to my mailman when in the States in appreciation for the services they provide, and partially out of fear that if I don’t give, I may never receive another piece of mail as long as I live in Mexico!On the other hand, I readily give generously to my housekeeper who works for me fulltime, year round. She is an integral part of my adopted family that I have been fortunate enough to have for 23+ years now. She is a single mother and has two children and a small house that she supports on the salary I pay her. In addition, any special needs that arise, I take care of plus I help whenever I can throughout the year. Her Christmas bonus is above and beyond the norm, and includes several gifts for both her and the children. I do believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive and this is one way I can give back to the community that I have chosen to live in. Something I think we all should do.

If you live in Mexico and you have an employee such as a housekeeper, gardener, cook, driver, or just someone who stops by to help you with chores every now and then, you should consider paying an Aguinaldo. It is customary to do so here in the Yucatan and throughout Mexico as well. There are even formulas on the internet to ascertain the amount you should pay!

Basically, from what I have seen from others living here, the Aguinaldo is considered the “Thirteenth Pay”. That is, one months’ salary for either full or part time help. In addition, to the monetary part of the Aguinaldo, a gift, or gifts, are often given as a token of appreciation for loyal service and/or longevity of service, or both.

Aguinaldo’s are usually paid in Mid-November up to the first part of December and often represents the total “Christmas” the family will have, including food, drink, and gifts. Often, the children in the family will receive some new clothing as their gift and are absolutely delighted to do so! (Unlike some children “north of the border”.) Let’s face it, the people that work for us are generally poor and do the best they can with what they have. It doesn’t hurt to help. It feels GREAT!

You don’t have to give until it hurts, just give until it helps.


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  4. I wont be in Merida until mid-december. Is it the norm to include the property manager in the list of employees? As he manages all the workers in the house, should I leave it to him to decide who should be included?

  5. Anon: I would give the Property Manager a bonus. I would not leave it up to him/her to decide who receives an aguinaldo. It's not a matter of trust. If you have other workers you employ on a regular basis, I think each employee would be entitled. While your property manager manages your property, he doesn't manage your wallet!

    Good question. I'm glad this post has sparked some interest in the community. The locals we employ to take care of us are hard working people trying their best to survive in an economy that isn't favorable to anyone who wasn't born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Thanx for asking!

  6. Jillian van der GrachtDecember 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM


    I know that this comment is off topic from this blog post, however I was hoping this would be the best way to contact you. My name is Jillian van der Gracht and I am currently in my fourth year at Capilano University, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada working towards my Bachelor of Tourism Management. In our fourth year we have to complete a research paper that involves us each conducting our own research on a particular topic about the tourism industry. The topic I have chosen is expatriate tourism in Merida, Yucatan. I chose this topic after living in Merida from 2008-2009 after I graduated high school. I spent ten weeks taking an international program at Technologia Turistica Total, and then continued working with them and their Life Long Learning program.

    I have read portions of your blog and I was wondering if you would be interested in filling out a survey about your experiences in Merida. I was also hoping that you could possibly pass along the survey to some of your other expatriate friends that would be interested in assisting me in my research.

    I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and hope to hear from you soon. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Jillian van der Gracht

  7. Jillian,

    My e-mail address is