Need extra cash for the holidays?These seasonal jobs are actually worth it

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If you have some extra time on hand, one of these gigs can go a long way toward helping your vacation budget.


key point

  • Many companies hire seasonal workers at this time of year to meet growing demand.
  • Many of these jobs pay $12 an hour or more.
  • Find positions in retail stores and customer service to take advantage of the holiday rush.

The holidays look fun on paper – delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and receiving gifts. But the reality is often long hours in the kitchen, listening to that old family story for the hundredth time, and trying not to panic as you watch your bank account balance shrink day by day.

I don’t have many words of wisdom to help you with the first two questions, but the last one can be worked out nicely by seasonal work. Here are some that are actually worth your time.

1. Cashier

The job of a cashier isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but it’s what many retailers need as they grapple with increasing demand in the last few weeks of the year. It’s also an easy job to get because there isn’t a big learning curve. Even if you don’t have any retail experience, there are still plenty of companies that will pick you up.

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In the United States, the average hourly wage for a seasonal cashier is about $12, according to ZipRecruiter. However, how much you actually take home will depend in part on your workload. If you can find a part-time job, you can easily integrate it into your regular job.

2. Santa’s Mall

I’ll admit, I was a bit shocked when I learned that mall Santas make an average of $22 an hour, according to ZipRecruiter. But they earned it. To get the job done, you have to get used to some long shifts. Depending on the mall, you can work up to twelve consecutive hours. It means more money for you, though.

Some malls hire Santa directly, but many work with event or photography agencies, so if you want to improve your odds of success, it’s best to get in touch with one of them. Real beards are usually not required, but they can improve your chances of getting hired. If you are interested in this job, you should start your job search immediately. Santa season in malls usually runs from early November to Christmas.

3. Personal purchasing

People hire personal shoppers all year round when they are busy shopping for themselves. But the holiday season could be a good time to get into the space, as people are buying so much more than usual. While most people are shopping online these days, there are always things that are only available in stores.

According to ZipRecruiter, personal shoppers can make around $18 an hour, and once your personal shopping business gets off the ground, you can often pick and choose the customers you work with. Or, if you’re not comfortable starting your own business, you can partner with a service like Instacart to help people get the groceries they need to prepare a holiday meal so they don’t have to leave the house.

4. Gift wrapping

Many people (including me) don’t know how to wrap gifts properly. And those who don’t want to hand over a clunky, misshapen gift are usually willing to pay a few bucks more to have someone really good at it do it for them. That’s why many retailers use gift wrap to take advantage of this.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly wage for gift wrappers is about $17. Knowing how to wrap a gift is certainly an advantage, but if you don’t know how to wrap it yet, many companies will teach you. You just have to be willing to learn.

5. Customer Service Representative

As purchases have grown, so have calls from customer service asking questions about how to use the product and asking for help to facilitate returns. As a result, many businesses have beefed up their customer support staff during the holiday season to avoid long phone waits. Some companies also employ remote workers for customer service roles, so you may be able to work from home.

Seasonal customer service reps earn about $14 an hour on average, but this can vary by business. Companies will provide training before letting you go on your own, so don’t be too scared if you haven’t worked in this field before. Experience always helps, though.

This is not a complete list of seasonal jobs, and jobs available in your area may not include all of these options. But look around and see what’s out there. Check out the salary and decide if it’s worth spending hours before applying. Be sure to ask how long the company plans to keep you so you can estimate how much money you’ll actually make from the job.

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