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10 ways to make extra money during the holidays

Looking for a holiday side gig that is both lucrative and flexible? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newer job seeker, here are several great ways to make extra cash for the holidays.

For all of the additional expenses the holidays bring, the season also provides many opportunities to scoop up extra cash. The varied ways to make extra money during the holidays can be fun, fulfilling — and even spark new potential for satisfying long-term employment relationships.

Seasonal opportunities include pet care; baking and catering; assembling toys and furniture; delivery driving; babysitting; and many other ways to lend an extra helping hand to parents, seniors and others who need it.

“People will be looking to pick up extra work for a myriad of reasons, chief among them being the extra costs that the holidays bring,” says Chris Panteli, who helps people find ways to earn more money through his platform LifeUpswing.com. “Gifts to buy, kids to keep occupied and entertained and budgets being stretched to their maximum capacity.”

Typically, people are looking for holiday side gigs that are both lucrative and flexible — fun is nice plus, too. “Any sort of part-time position that is both flexible and reliable will surely be highly sought after,” Panteli says. “It can alleviate some financial pressures and can also be rewarding at the same time.”

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newer job seeker, here are 10 great ways to make extra cash for the holidays.

1. Babysitting

Find a babysitting job

Busy parents need sitting any time of year, but that can be especially true during the holiday season while they shop, cook, attend work functions or holiday parties — and find themselves generally overextended.

As a bonus, this kind of job can pay dividends beyond just extra holiday cash. Caregiver Josh Pearl explains that he recently cared for three kids through a Care.com opportunity. And not only did his role help the family he supported, but he found it personally quite rewarding as well.

“The job was part-time and to earn a little extra cash, but quickly became my mental escape during the day,” he explains, adding that the kids’ playful innocence provided him a measure of relief amid the nonstop drumbeat of politics and pandemic news.

Care.com matches babysitters with families; you can also ask around to family, friends or neighbors or via social networks to your larger community to find parents who might need a sitter for date nights or care over school breaks.

2. Delivery driving

While COVID cut off some ways to make extra money during the holidays, it has also created additional opportunities in other areas. “A lot of work that might usually be hard to find is available in abundance this year,” explains recruiting professional Ben Lamarche. These jobs, he explains, include delivery drivers, as people are doing more of their shopping online. 

“These can be good for seasonal or temporary workers because the front-line workforce is likely to take time off during the holidays,” he says. “Employers are more likely to hire additional help because it doesn’t mean covering a lot of upfront costs, such as training and certification. 

Companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS and Amazon are good places to start.

3. Nannying

Find a nanny job

In addition to one-off or regular babysitting opportunities, many families are in need of more regular and extended child care — for instance to travel with them or to help cover long school breaks. Lamarche says these jobs are “always big around the holiday season, particularly because so many families either go out of town or have extra hosting duties around this time of the year.” 

Pearl underscores the reciprocal benefit that can come from working with kids. “I think everyone could learn a little from acting like a kid once in a while,” he says, and adds that a part-time gig is a perfect way to make this kind of connection.

Care.com matches nannies with families; you can also reach out to your personal network or via social networks to your larger community to find parents who wish to hire a nanny for the holidays or even longer.

4. Tutoring

Find a tutoring job

Another opportunity to make money and provide meaningful support to families is by offering your services as a tutor. After a school year in which so many kids learned virtually, some may be falling behind and could just really use that one-on-one education support. Tutoring can also help kids bridge any academic backslide during a long winter break. 

Care.com matches tutors with students; companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review also often hire test-prep tutors.

5. Pet sitting and dog walking

Find a pet care job

Many people travel out of town during the holiday season — sometimes to visit hotels or loved ones who won’t accommodate pets. And that means many need extra support for their furry friends when they’re away.  

Consider applying for a holiday pet-sitting, dog-walking or pet-boarding gig. (Bonus: You get to cuddle with cute animals!)

6. House cleaning or organizing

Find a housekeeping job

House cleaning help can be especially in-demand during the holiday season when people are busier than ever. They may want to get their homes in tiptop shape for any holiday gatherings, or need some help cleaning up after them (or both). With so many presents, toys and decorations swirling around the season, home organizers are in higher demand as well.

You can find job listings for housekeepers and house cleaners on Care.com.

7. Driving

Find a driving job

Driving for rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft can provide an extra revenue stream for the holidays — and it’s totally flexible and customizable to your schedule. Apart from these platforms, you might find seasonal work as a driver providing extra personal and customized care — say, for a child or senior who needs additional assistance.

You can start by searching Care.com for nanny and senior care job listings from families who have transportation needs.  

8. Personal assisting

Find a personal assistant job

If you’re already a nanny, pet sitter or senior caregiver for a family, the holidays might provide a great chance to pick up additional work outside the scope of those existing duties. Families might provide additional paid work, such as running errands, wrapping gifts, grocery shopping, addressing holiday cards and more. 

If you’re not already linked up with a family, scroll interesting listings for odd jobs that people need help with.

9. Assembling

The holiday season offers abundant opportunities for anyone with basic know-how (or at least patience and willingness to learn) to pick up extra cash by helping people assemble things. These might include toys (so much effort after the presents are opened) or furnishings (like extra tables and chairs bought for family gatherings). 

Try posting your services on social media, sharing them around your community by word of mouth or checking local classifieds. You can also post your services on sites like Angi, or through app-based platforms like Task Rabbit, where you can market yourself locally and set your own rates. 

10. Cooking and baking

Find a cooking job

Families celebrating the holidays might prefer to spare some effort by outsourcing the meal prep. Same goes for the desserts. And if you’re skillful as a baker or a chef, you might find rewarding opportunities to make extra cash this way — doing something you already know and love. 

Share your skills on social media — especially highly visual platforms like Instagram, where your drool-worthy dishes can really shine. You might even set up a separate account for your offerings, or a dedicated website. Networking with friends and fellow chefs and bakers can also help get the word out.

“Times have been tough especially for those in the food service and hospitality industry,” says personal finance influencer Shang Saavedra. “Those skill sets connect very well to gigs during the holiday season and people tip!”