The holidays seem pretty fun on paper — great food, spending time with loved ones, and receiving gifts. But too often the reality is 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 by the day.
I don’t have many words of wisdom that can help you with the first two, but a seasonal job can be a great solution to that last problem. Here are a few that are actually worth your time.
Working as a cashier isn’t the most glamorous job, but it’s something a lot of retailers need as they try to deal with the increased demand they see in the last few weeks of the year. It’s also a pretty easy job to get because there’s not a huge learning curve. Even if you don’t have any retail experience, there are still many companies who will take you on.
The average seasonal cashier earns about $12 per hour in the United States, according to ZipRecruiter. But how much you actually take home will depend in part on how much you work. If you can find a part-time job, you may be able to fit it in pretty easily around your regular job.
2. Mall Santa
I’ll admit, I was kind of blown away when I learned the average mall Santa makes about $22 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter. But they earn it. To do this job, you have to be comfortable with some long shifts. Depending on the mall, you could be working up to twelve hours straight. Still, that means more money for you.
Some malls hire Santas directly, but many work with event or photo agencies, so it’s best to get in contact with one of these if you want to boost your odds of success. Real beards aren’t usually required, but they can improve your chances of getting hired. If you’re interested in this job, you should start looking for jobs immediately. The mall Santa season usually runs from the start of November until Christmas.
3. Personal shopper
People hire personal shoppers throughout the year when they’re just too busy to do their own shopping. But the holiday season can be a great time to break into this field since people are buying a lot more than they normally do. While most people do a lot of their shopping online these days, there are always a few things you can only get in stores.
Personal shoppers can make about $18 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter, and you can often pick and choose the clients you work with once you get your personal shopping business off the ground. Or if you’re not comfortable starting your own business, you may be able to partner with a service like Instacart, helping people get the groceries they need to prepare their holiday meals so they don’t have to leave home.
4. Gift wrapper
A surprising number of people (including me) don’t know how to wrap gifts properly. And those who don’t want to hand over lumpy, misshapen presents are often willing to spend a few dollars extra to have someone who’s actually good at it do it for them. And that’s why many retailers employ gift wrappers to capitalize on this.
The average gift wrapper earns about $17 an hour, according to ZipRecruiter. Knowing how to wrap presents well is a definite plus, but a lot of companies will teach you if you don’t already know how. You just have to be willing to learn.
5. Customer service representative
With increased buying comes increased calls to customer service with questions about how to use products and requests for help facilitating returns, among other things. So a lot of businesses beef up their customer support staff during the holidays to avoid long wait times on the phone. Some companies also hire remote workers for customer service roles, so you might be able to work from home.
The average seasonal customer service representative makes about $14 per hour, but this can vary a lot depending on the business. The company will provide training before letting you go on your own, so don’t be too intimidated if you haven’t worked in this field before. Experience always helps, though.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of seasonal jobs, and the jobs available in your area might not include all these options. But take a look around and see what’s out there. Look at the pay and decide whether it’s worth the hours spent before you apply. Be sure to ask about how long the company plans to keep you as well so you can estimate how much you’ll actually make from the job.
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