The holidays seem to bring a strange mixture of joy and financial anxiety into our lives. Heading into last year’s holiday season, Americans planned to spend an average of $997.79 on purchases like gifts, decorations and celebratory meals.
So, it’s no surprise that many of us wind up looking for seasonal jobs just to make it through the festivities without breaking the bank. The good news is the best holiday jobs are more plentiful — and more lucrative — than ever.
15 Best Holiday Side Hustles
Just because it’s called the “season of giving” doesn’t mean you can’t earn some money to support your holiday expenses. Let’s walk through the 15 best side hustles to explore this year.
1. Retail sales
We often associate seasonal jobs with positions at large, traditional retailers like Target or Kohl’s, and for good reason. Each year, such retailers take on thousands of seasonal employees to help manage increased foot traffic and online activity.
While there are still traditional in-store jobs available, the pandemic has exposed a glaring need for e-commerce support. So, in addition to roles like sales reps and cashiers, there are also more opportunities for work within shipping and warehousing businesses.
To see who's hiring for the holidays, you can check out this list from CNN.
2. Driving, delivering and tasking
Is there any product or service that can’t be delivered for a price these days? You can get almost anything you want delivered directly to your doorstep, especially if you live in or adjacent to a large metropolitan area. Packages, groceries, takeout — you name it.
A lot of people earn extra cash by becoming a driver for DoorDash, InstaCart, or other delivery services. The same goes for helping people with home improvement projects and laborious tasks through platforms like TaskRabbit.
During the holidays, the need for services of all kinds increases tenfold. So, it’s the perfect opportunity to start a side hustle. If you have a valid driver’s license, car insurance and a clean driving record, chances are you already have the basic qualifications for delivery services.
Plus, certain types of holiday delivery jobs can even lead to full-time employment. For instance, a seasonal worker at UPS and used the tuition reimbursement program to get his degree and become a supervisor. “I never intended UPS to be a career,” the worker said. “I took a job for Christmas. As I moved along, the opportunities were just too good to pass up.”
Even if you don't want to make delivering your full-time gig, it can still help generate more spending money for the holidays.
3. Hospitality and tourism
Unsurprisingly, holiday jobs tend to crop up where tourists do. Come winter season, hotels, resorts, restaurants, caterers, and event planners will need extra staff to handle surging demand. If you live near a large or tourist-friendly city, this could be a lucrative opportunity.
For location-specific positions, it’s often best to check job listings in your local newspaper or on job-search sites such as Monster.com. That way you can see who’s hiring in your area.
Not sure where to start? Focus on what you’re good at, and what your city or region is known for. For example, if you live in California or Colorado and you love to ski, you can make extra holiday cash by working at a ski resort. Or, if you have experience in bartending, try calling local restaurants and hotels and ask if they need an extra set of hands for the holidays.
4. Customer service from home
You don’t need a niche skill or even a car to make money during the holidays. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent or you live too far from an urban area to work in retail. Fortunately, you can earn extra holiday cash without even leaving the house.
If you have good phone skills, companies like Amazon, Alorica and HSN offer remote phone jobs — like taking orders or assisting with customer service. For a list of companies that offer these jobs, check out this guide from The Work at Home Wife.
5. Maximize rebates
Kristen Larsen, the creator of Believe in a Budget, says rebates can boost your bank account. She recommends Ibotta, a mobile phone app that lets you earn cashback from all sorts of purchases, and Rakuten (formerly Ebates), which pays you a $10 bonus just for signing up.
6. Sell, sell, sell
Are you a packrat with a basement or garage brimming with dusty boxes? A fashionista with a closet full of designer or vintage items you’ll never wear again? Maybe you inherited furniture that simply isn’t your style.
Selling old, unwanted items is arguably the easiest way to make extra holiday cash.
If you want to sell some used clothes without driving around from thrift store to thrift store, Poshmark and ThredUp are convenient online options. If you’d rather offload items like furniture, kitchenware or old books, you can always go the tried-and-true route of posting an ad on Craigslist or eBay.
Facebook Marketplace is another increasingly popular option. This platform lets you broadcast your for-sale items to the local community, tag friends who might be interested and send private messages to potential buyers. Make sure to follow Facebook personal safety guidelines.
7. Get crafty
If you sew, knit, paint, carve or make anything crafty, you may find success selling your wares on Etsy.com. It’s also a great place to sell unusual, vintage or custom jewelry, furniture and other items.
In addition to Etsy, you could sell your creations at a local farmer’s market or craft fair.
8. Apply for work with a temporary staffing agency
When employers need help, they turn to temporary staffing firms such as Kelly Services, Manpower and Randstad. These companies tend to have openings across a wide variety of industries and professions from warehouse associates to secret shoppers and even product marketing managers.
You never know — a temp job can also open the door to a permanent job if the employer likes your work.
9. Take care of kids and pets
Holiday parties and travel generate demand for babysitters, dog walkers and pet sitters. While parents and pet owners are away, you can make money keeping an eye on things.
If you have experience caring for children, you could use sites like Care.com or reach out to parenting groups to advertise your services. Regardless of your experience, consider getting training in first aid — this can help ease the minds of anxious parents and safeguard against emergency situations. For more on picking up babysitting work, check out this primer from The Balance Careers.
For dog walking and pet sitting jobs, you can sign up for Rover.
10. Help with housework
At this time of year, people may need their gutters cleaned, their gardens winterized, and their driveways shoveled. If you have a green thumb (or simply need some more green in your wallet), you can offer your services on neighborhood social networks like Nextdoor.
For some jobs, such as cleaning gutters or garden cleanup, customers may expect you to bring your own ladders, cutting shears or other equipment. If housework and lawn care aren’t your areas of expertise, research what they require ahead of time. Knowledge and physical fitness are the best way to prevent injuries in these types of jobs.
11. Rent a room
Airbnb is so popular among travelers that it’s become a verb, as in “I Airbnb-ed in Seattle and found a perfect spot right near Pike Place Market.” Becoming an Airbnb host may provide a quick path to extra holiday cash if you have a spare room or carriage house.
Getting started on Airbnb is fairly easy, but a little upfront research goes a long way. You should stay up to date with local regulations on renting rooms and know how to stand up for yourself if a guest misbehaves. For more pointers, read this primer from The Points Guy.
12. Hire yourself out to your landlord
Rental properties need constant maintenance and repairs. Why not offer to help your landlord with projects or chores like raking the leaves? You might earn some money or at least shave a few dollars off your rent.
13. Be an online tutor
The world needs more educational support. Are you a math whiz? Or maybe you know a second language? You can put your book smarts to work by tutoring students online. Depending on the site, you might not even need a teaching certificate or experience leading a classroom.
For online tutoring companies, check out this list by The Balance Careers.
14. Offer online courses
Are you the go-to person for gluten-free recipes? Or are you great at teaching people how to cross-stitch? No matter what skill you're proficient in, you might be able to use it to gain extra holiday cash by offering an online course.
15. Use your professional skills
Did you take up a hobby while you were stuck at home during the pandemic? If so, you're in good company. Freelancers with professional skills can take advantage of the ever-changing work environment. So, whether you're a budding blogger or a social media expert, there might be an easy side hustle out there for you.
What Are the Highest Paying Side Hustles for Extra Holiday Cash?
With all of these options, you might be wondering which one is the most worthwhile. The truth is, the amount of money that you can make will depend on how much time you spend on your side hustle.
According to Monster.com, some of the best paying side hustles are:
- Ridesharing with companies like Uber and Lyft based on a median hourly rate of $15 and a median monthly rate of $350.
- Freelance work or consulting based on a median hourly rate of $20 and a median monthly rate of $200.
- Reselling items online based on a median hourly rate of $20 and median monthly income of $100.
- Babysitting based on a median hourly rate of $10 and median monthly income of $100.
Finding the side hustle that suits your personality and schedule can provide the extra money you need for gifts and seasonal activities. If you are concerned about taking on too much work, you may want to target a specific savings goal so that you can reevaluate the job when you hit your target.
And who knows? You may even find work that generates extra income throughout the year!