When the holidays roll around, it isn’t just Clark Griswold whose hoping for a generous bonus. Nannies, too, enjoy receiving an annual bonus or other generous holiday gift that shows a family’s appreciation for the hard work, love, and care they put into their jobs day after day. Not everyone is aware that their nanny should be getting a holiday bonus, but offering a holiday bonus is a standard practice in the nanny industry, and one that every employer should try to adopt.

The holiday bonus is more than just cash; it’s a symbol of your appreciation for a nanny’s important role in your family. While a bonus is certainly not a substitute for an annual review, it is also a small way of letting your nanny know that you’re happy with her performance and that you value her unwavering commitment to your children’s care.

So, how much should you give? Typically, the standard holiday bonus for a full-time nanny is equivalent to one to two weeks’ pay. Families with fairly new nannies usually calculate about one full day of pay per month that the nanny has worked so far and offer that as a bonus. For a nanny who has been with your family for over a year, one full week’s pay is a good guideline. And for nannies who have been employed by you for three years or longer, it’s customary to give at least two weeks’ pay, or even more if you see fit. Some families give a full month’s pay to longer term nannies. Also remember, the bonus is considered taxable income and should be reported as such.

In addition to how long a nanny has worked for you, the size of their bonus can also depend on their performance. When possible, a great performance should yield a higher bonus. The final factor to consider is what you can reasonably afford. Since holiday bonuses are standard, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and put money away throughout the year to cover the bonus, if needed.

Along with the holiday bonus, it’s typical for families to include a sentimental handmade card or gift from the children. This could be anything, from a simple DIY craft the children put together to flowers to a box of cookies or cupcakes from the nanny’s favorite bakery. The point is simply to show that the entire family appreciates the nanny and that he or she has earned a special place in your children’s life. It truly is the thought that counts.

In lieu of a cash bonus, some families like to offer other big perks. They may opt to give the nanny airfare home for the holidays, a getaway on a cruise or at a high-end resort, or a coveted gadget like an iPad or smart watch. Some families may even choose to contribute a lump sum to a nanny’s retirement fund. Ultimately, the holiday bonus is about how you, as an employer, would like to show your appreciation. What you choose to give is up to you, and the bonus will, of course, depend on your means.

If a generous holiday bonus truly is not in the cards for you financially, there are some alternatives you can offer. A gift card for a massage or a day at a local spa will likely end up costing less than a bonus, but is still a meaningful way to encourage a nanny to treat him or herself. You could also get a gift card to a favorite restaurant or tickets to a concert or special event. You might also consider giving the nanny additional paid vacation time throughout the next year or more time off for the holidays.

Even though the parent-nanny relationship is professional, it’s also personal. This is someone who shares an important bond with your children, fosters their growth and development, and who you’re able to rely on every single day, no matter what. When considering the holiday bonus, think carefully about what your nanny’s performance has meant in your life and in the lives of your family, and consider whatever kind of bonus you choose as the best possible way to say thank you for a job well done.