6 Top Seasonal Side Gigs to Earn Money During the Holidays

By Kat Tetrina
December 18, 2019

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means there are presents to buy, meals to cook, and parties to attend. 

Sounds great, right? But if you’re short on cash, all of those festivities can leave you feeling less-than-jolly. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan on spending $1,007.24 on holiday expenses, on average. 

If coming up with enough money to cover your holiday expenses sounds impossible, don’t despair! There are plenty of side gigs that can help you earn extra money during the holidays. 

What are side gigs?

Side gigs are a way to earn extra money without committing to a regular schedule with an employer. 

With a side hustle you work when it’s convenient for your schedule, and you decide how many hours you work. The best part: Side gigs are scalable, meaning you can work more when you need money, and take a break when you’d prefer to rest. 

You can use your earnings to pay for your holiday expenses, or you can even get a headstart on your New Year’s resolutions by starting an emergency fund with your side gig income. You can also stash your side gig income into a new savings account and watch it snowball during the holiday season. 

6 ways to make extra money during the holidays

The winter season is the perfect opportunity to earn extra money. There’s a lot of demand for help, so you can make money quickly. Here are six great ways to make extra money during the holidays.

1. Pet-sit 

Because so many people travel during the holidays, there’s serious demand for pet-sitters. If you love dogs and cats, you can make extra cash while snuggling cute animals. You can find work through sites like Rover and Wag, or you can find your own gigs. 

According to an interview with a Rover representative last year, part-time pet sitters make $1,000 per month, on average.  

Stephanie Gatewood is a seasoned pet-sitter who makes even more than that. Her monthly income fluctuates throughout the year, but the holiday season is her busiest time. On average, she earns $36 per hour thanks to her efforts to streamline her business.

“Limiting my service area to a single fairly wealthy neighborhood close to my house was the key to maximizing my hourly rate since I didn’t waste time or gas driving all around town,” she said.

“I worked hard to ‘wow’ my clients by sending them text updates and photos and leaving them welcome home cards. Once I had a few clients, they recommended me to their friends and neighbors.” 

2. Wrap gifts

On average, Americans spend about three hours wrapping gifts. That kind of time can make anyone sympathize with Scrooge. 

But if you have a knack for gift-wrapping, you can turn that skill into Christmas money. You can advertise gift-wrapping services in local community groups on Facebook. However, you can also land a part-time job with major retailers. Many businesses, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, JCPenney, and others offer gift-wrapping services in their stores and hire staff for that task. Gift wrappers can make between eight and $15 per hour. 

3. Assemble toys or furniture

How to make money during the December holidays? Become an assembly master. 

Parents buy toys for their children, or they have new furniture to accommodate holiday guests. These things are often complex and time-consuming to put together, making it a perfect opportunity to make some money. 

If you’re good at assembling Ikea furniture, or know the ins and outs of the latest toys, you can make up to $140 per hour. There’s no need to find gigs on your own. You can sign up for a service like TaskRabbit to find customers near you. 

4. Rent out your space

If you have family visiting or are planning on traveling to visit your in-laws, you’re not alone. According to AAA, 112.5 million people were expected to travel last year

What does that mean for you? Easy money. 

If you’ll be away for the holidays, or if you have a spare room, you can rent it to other holiday travelers on sites like AirBnB or VRBO. Renting out your home or a spare room can be a great source of income. In a survey done by Earnest, researchers found that people make $924 per month with AirBnB, on average. 

For Kyle Kroeger, owner of Financial Wolves, AirBnB is a great source of extra cash. He earns $500 to $1,000 per month from the site. 

“I had empty space in my house, and it simply felt like wasted dollars,” he explained. 

“My house has a great setup for separate entry and divided space for renting on AirBnB. I was eager to try it to see what all the rage was about. I ended up being addicted to having renters. It’s a great way to make additional cash flow from an asset that you already have.”

5. Sell stuff online

If you’re looking for holiday cash, one of the first places to start is in your own house. According to Sella, a company that helps customers sell their items locally, the average U.S. household has over $7,000 of unused stuff in their homes

If you have old clothes, books, electronics, sports equipment, or toys, you can turn that clutter into cash:

For Daniella Flores, a self-proclaimed serial side hustler, selling things on eBay was profitable. She made between $750 and $2,000 each month by selling items online. 

“It (selling on eBay) is flexible, can be done from home, and with little manual labor unless what you are selling needs repairs,” she said. 

Once you run out of your own items to sell, you can also flip thrift store and garage sale finds for profit. For new sellers, Flores recommended you do some homework. 

“Do your research for what is in demand and look at price ranges on eBay to price your items,” she said. 

“You want to aim for stuff that will make 50% to 100% profit when sourcing items.”

6. Deliver groceries

Everyone is busy around the holidays. They need to shop for presents, decorate their homes, finish up work, and get ready for visitors. If you’re wondering how to make money in the winter months, one of the best ways is delivering groceries through a service like Shipt or Instacart

As a shopper with these companies, you can accept grocery orders through their apps. You’ll go to the grocery store, pick up the items the customer requested, and then deliver them to the customer’s home. You’ll get paid per order, and you can also receive tips. 

According to Shipt, experienced shoppers can make up to $22 per hour and are paid on a weekly basis. You can also get paid through your online bank account

Saving your hard-earned cash

Don’t let a lack of money ruin your holiday spirit. If you have some extra time, you can earn money with these lucrative side hustles. You can use your money to enjoy the holidays without going into debt. 

Just remember: don’t run yourself ragged working all season just to buy fancy presents. Take a break and enjoy the holidays and time with your loved ones — no money required. 

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and MarketWatch.

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