I have an administrative assistant. Also, this is in the US, our office has around 20 people, and I'm one of the "higher" people (i.e. I have an admin), but I'm not really the boss of anyone.
I generally do not give anyone holiday gifts in the office but, last year, succumbing to some peer pressure from the actual boss (we were told that it's strongly encouraged to give Christmas tips/gift to our assigned administrative assistant), I did throw in my $50 and signed the card. However, due to several issues with this admin (not exactly personal issues), I am very inclined to return to my previous policy of not giving any gift. Most importantly, her performance has been very bad this year: she has made innumerable mistakes (scheduling, failing to order things we needed, many errors in clerical duties like copy editing), and there have been multiple incidents where she has incited significant conflict in the office (e.g. yelling at someone out of exasperation, starting unsolicited political debates, and blaming others/accusing others of things without any evidence). This person's manager has failed to remediate the situation (there's always a promise that it will "be handled soon") but that is an entirely different issue.
My issue is: I do not want to give this admin a Christmas tip because a) I'm not a gift guy (receiving or giving) and couldn't care less about the holidays; and more importantly b) I do not believe this person deserves a bonus or should have their poor performance and behavior reinforced.
Question: How exactly should I navigate this situation?? Just stiff this admin without ever addressing it face-to-face? Explain my reasoning? Get this admin some nominal gift (e.g. some $5 trinket) as a significant step down from the cash gift last year? Other suggestions?