This coming month of chaotic shopping, seasonal decorating and holiday parties gives entrepreneurs ample opportunity to make a bundle with holiday side hustles. Holiday side hustles involve helping other families put up Christmas lights, wrap gifts, see the sights and a multitude of other things.
However, where the holiday season presents plenty of opportunity, short-term side hustles also require initiative and organization. But the money can make it worth your while.
Some of best side hustle opportunties during the holiday season:
Christmas light tours
Elliott Block is hoping to make his side hustle — boat charter tours out of Newport Beach, Calif. — into a booming business this holiday season. His ace? The Newport Beach boat parade, which turns this scenic Southern California harbor into a nightly light show. Yachts owned by billionaires dock beside homes owned by movie stars. Almost every house and boat is decked out in lights and, often, animation. Block advertises his Christmas boat tours on Boatsetter, a website that offers boat rentals throughout the world. A four-hour tour for up to 12 people runs $1,200, or roughly $100 per person, Block says.
Realizing that his boat is going to get a lot of eyeballs during cruises this month, he’s also offering to fly corporate banners on the boat’s stern for a price. If he gets his wish, rentals and advertising will bring in $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue this holiday season.
“This entire bay is decorated to the nines and the only way you can see it is on a boat,” Block says. “We are hoping to book sunset cruises every night in December.”
No boat, no problem
But you don’t need a boat to make money showing off your city’s best holiday light displays. If you know where residents go all-out, you can creat your own driving tour. Sites like Viator and Vayable allow people who want to serve as local tour guides to list the details of their tours, price and market them via these sites. Tour guides set the agenda, say what nights and times tours are available, minimum and maximum numbers of guests, and whether guests will be picked up or meet at a particular spot. Viator and Vayable book guests; collect payment, charging the tour guide a commission on each booking.
What’s particularly attractive about these sites is that a well-planned tour can easily net the guide $25 to $100 per hour. “Hot chocolate and Holiday Lights” tours, anyone?
As much as people may enjoy viewing holiday light displays, stringing those lights along your roofline and through the trees can be a major pain. Many entrepreneurs realize that this pain-point is your opportunity. Indeed, hundreds of vendors list their availability to put up holiday lights on Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor. Average hourly pay: $48 – $55.
But there are easier and cheaper ways to market your light-hanging services than Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor, which charge steep referral fees. Neighborhood websites such as Nextdoor and CraigsList will allow you to pitch your neighbors for free. You can also create old-fashioned paper fliers and spend an afternoon putting them in mailboxes in high-end neighborhoods, where the residents might be more likely to hire than DIY.
Greeting cards and messages
If you go to Fiverr’s “lifestyle” category, you’ll find dozens of artists and animators, who promise to create holiday greeting cards, animated messages or singing telegrams. Each of these messages typically sells for between $5 and $15.
On Society6, artists offer everything from “holiday pig” leggings to Santa iPhone cases to holiday wrapping paper. The benefit of print-on-demand sites like Society 6 is that you upload your designs; the site will put them on products like leggings, aprons, coffee cups and iPhone cases. When a product bearing your design sells, you earn a royalty. Each royalty is only a few bucks, but you do the work once and get paid every time there’s a sale.
Other personal services
Of course, babysitting and dog watching services are also in high demand during the holidays, which may make this a good time to sign up with a dogsitting app such as Rover or a babysitting app such as Bambino or Urban Sitter. Those willing to work on super-high-demand evenings, such as New Year’s Eve, can even charge premium rates.
Retail and post-holiday options
Traditional retail stores also gear up for the holidays by hiring literally hundreds of thousands of part-time, seasonal workers. Check out “side hustles for happier holidays” for the best places to find these jobs.
Too busy to work more during the holiday season, but looking for a good way to pay off holiday bills after the new year begins? Consider applying for one of a half-million Census positions that pay between $13 and $30 per hour. The Census Bureau will start hiring in January.