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Holiday season jobs: When to start looking and how much you can make

According to the new 2019 Cost of Holidays Survey, 48% of families wish they had more help this holiday season, hourly rates for seasonal work are higher in December and the majority of families start looking for 2020 help in November. 

If you’re hoping to land seasonal work in child care, housekeeping, pet care or senior care during the holidays, on New Year’s Eve and beyond, the time to start looking is now! Between hectic school schedules, after-school activities, school holiday closures, family obligations and holiday parties at home and at work, families need more help than ever. 

According to the 2019 Cost of Holidays Survey, in which we polled more than 4,500 families, here’s what we found out about what they’re looking for, when they’re hiring and how much more they’re willing to pay.

What kind of holiday help do families need?

Almost half of the families responding to our holiday survey — 48% — say they wish they had more help this holiday season. Of those, 69% would love a housekeeper, 66% wish for a babysitter and 38% say they could use an errand runner. 

The top three most helpful tasks a babysitter can do during the holiday season? 

  • 80% ask babysitters to watch the children while they finish holiday shopping.

  • 59% have sitters watch the kids while they attend holiday parties.

  • 26% hire babysitters to take care of multiple children during holiday entertaining.

When are families looking for holiday help?

According to data, “holiday” job postings peaked the first Thursday in December 2018. That suggests the peak for families posting holiday jobs this year will fall on December 5 — if you’re a caregiver, housekeeper or pet sitter who’s looking for a holiday job, you might want to mark that date on your calendar. 

When are families looking for a holiday babysitter?

To get more insight into how families manage hiring additional child care help for the holidays, we surveyed 4,500 parents with children. What we found is that parents are planners:

  • 31% book one week in advance. 

  • 18% book two weeks in advance.

Now, it is possible to find a job the same week you’d like to work, but it could be a bit tougher — since only 27% of families surveyed book their holiday sitter the same week they need one.

How much are families paying for holiday help?

On the whole, holiday season jobs pay better. The national averages for child care, senior care, housekeeping and pet care jobs are all higher during December.

Holiday hourly pay rates for:

How much will families pay for a New Years’ Eve sitter?

New Year’s Eve is the most popular holiday of the year for babysitting jobs, according to 2018 data. In 2018, national average rate for a New Year’s Eve sitter was $17.30 per hour (up from $16.55 in 2017). And you can make even more than that, depending on where you live.

5 top-paying cities for New Year’s Eve sitters:

  1. San Jose, California: $22.38 per hour.

  2. San Francisco, California: $21.06 per hour.

  3. Fort Myers, Florida: $20.88 per hour.

  4. New York, N.Y.: $19.03 per hour.

  5. Denver, Colorado: $18.85 per hour.

5 top-paying states for New Year’s Eve sitters:

  1. California: $18.61 per hour.

  2. Florida: $17.45 per hour.

  3. Texas: $16.57 per hour.

  4. New York: $18.88 per hour.

  5. Colorado: $18.87 per hour.

When to look for a New Year’s Eve babysitting job 

In this year’s survey, more than half — 61% — of parents hiring a New Year’s Eve sitter said they’ll be booking at least two weeks in advance so mark your calendar. That’s before December 16, 2019. 

When to start looking for jobs for 2020

Families are already thinking ahead about hiring into 2020, too. 

  • 44% of families will be hiring a part-time babysitter for 2020.

  • 17% of families will be hiring a housekeeper.

  • 14% of families will be hiring a full-time nanny.

Most families say they started hiring process in November. Keep these timelines in mind if you’re looking for work in 2020.

  • November (33%).

    • 24% in early November.

    • 9% in late November.

  • December (17%).

    • 11% in early December. 

    • 6% in late December.

  • January (19%).

    • 12% in early January.

    • 7% in late January.

About the 2019 Cost of Holidays data data, such as hourly rates and advance booking averages, are based on 2018 member behavior on the site. The 2019 Cost of Holidays Survey captured responses, which were recruited from, from more than 4,500 people in the U.S. during the month of October 2019.

Previous Cost of Care surveys