When I was in college, money was tight. Even though my parents paid for my tuition, I was responsible for my rent, monthly bills, food, car insurance, and my textbooks. While waiting tables covered these expenses, when the holidays rolled around, I was strapped for cash.
To earn extra cash for the holidays, I’d pick up catering and babysitting gigs. I sold used stuff to consignment shops and used book stores. I even participated in pharmaceutical research studies.
I tell you this story because everyone has some talent, ability, or skill that they can call upon to make extra money.
If you’re worried about upcoming Christmas expenses, here are 20 easy ways to earn extra cash for the holidays.
1. Childcare Services
One of the easiest ways to make some extra holiday cash is to provide childcare services. With kids on vacation, parents attending holiday parties, and secret shopping trips being executed — there are more than enough opportunities for you to cash in on this in-demand service this holiday season.
For sites that connect you with parents in need of childcare, check out:
2. Cookie Baking
Do you love to bake? Do you have a particular recipe for fruitcake that everyone raves about? Fill a need this holiday season by selling homemade cookies, candies, or cakes.
Everyone loves to have homemade goodies for holiday gatherings, but so many people lack time to bake all the various sweets they would like to serve. This is where you can be a valuable holiday asset. Tell family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers that you’re selling cookies and cakes for the holiday season and ask them to place their orders. You can also post your holiday services on Facebook and Instagram sites, giving your holiday business even greater reach.
Related Content: Starting a Cupcake Business From Home
3. Create a Holiday Gift Guide
Create a holiday gift guide that includes gift ideas, recipes, tips for surviving the holidays, holiday decor, and gift wrapping ideas. You can upload your text, images, and links into a Word Document, then convert it into a PDF. To monetize the guide, sell advertising space or add in your affiliate links. Lastly, promote your guide on your social media channels, via free online publishing websites, your website, and your email list.
To get some ideas, check out these gift guide ideas from other bloggers:
4. Join a Direct Sales Company
We’ve all heard of Avon and Tupperware, but did you know that there are thousands of direct sales companies selling millions of products?!
With direct selling, you purchase a starter kit that gives you everything you need to get started. Then, for each sale that comes from your website, pop-up party, or sales form, you’ll earn a commission.
Some companies have a multi-level marketing component where you can build a team and earn commissions on their sales as well.
Your first prospects will generally be friends, family, and neighbors; then, you will build your customer base by getting referrals and branching out. The direct sales model tends to be best for extroverts.
Here are some direct selling companies with fun products:
- cabi (clothing and accessories)
- Initial Outfitters (personalized jewelry and gifts)
- Sseko Designs (fair trade handbags and clothing)
- Stella & Dot (fashion and beauty)
- Traveling Vineyard (wine)
- Tastefully Simple (food)
5. Gift Wrapping
My mom always disliked wrapping Christmas gifts. On the other hand, I loved it and would do the majority of the gift wrapping for her. Here is another simple service that you can provide this holiday season, especially useful for personal concierges and virtual assistants to add to their services list.
If you’re looking for more tips on getting started, Cori has a great article covering everything you need to know here.
6. Hang Holiday Lights
This has become a popular home-based business in the past few years. Installing outdoor holiday lights takes time and requires a great deal of physical strength. You’ll need some essential tools, like a truck and a ladder, but if you’re not afraid of heights, this can be a lucrative and fun way to make some extra holiday cash. Be sure you check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered in case of an accident.
Here are some on-demand sites you can use to connect with customers:
7. House Cleaning
It’s that time of year where there is a lot of holiday entertaining going on. With people being so busy, it will be easy for you to establish yourself as a holiday helper. Offer cleaning services, ranging from laundry and household chores to meal prep and running errands.
These smartphone apps that connect clients and workers:
8. Make and Sell Handmade Crafts
If you’re artsy and crafty, making and selling crafts for extra holiday cash may be your calling. You’ll need to plan ahead with this idea unless you already have a surplus of arts and crafts created. If you’re going to use a site like Etsy or ArtFire to sell your handmade goods, you’ll want to get that set up and ready to go as well. You can also use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to connect directly to consumers or consider purchasing a booth at a craft fair or farmer’s market.
Related Content: The Most Profitable Crafts to Make and Sell
9. Create and Send Holiday Cards
Fulfill a need this holiday by creating one of a kind holiday cards, even offering to address them, and sending them out for an additional fee. This is a great service for virtual assistants and personal concierge providers to add to their current services list.
Be sure to read Melanie’s success story about how she’s selling one-of-a-kind cards on Etsy!
10. Personal Holiday Shopper
Do you love to shop? Offer your shopping expertise to others by searching for the best deals or unique gift ideas and then purchasing the gifts online or in-store. This will save your clients a ton of time; you can even offer to gift wrap the presents for an additional charge.
Related Content: How to Get Paid to Shop For Others
11. Holiday Party Planner
Do you love planning parties? Then offer your services as a holiday event planner! Party planners usually handle the details of location, budget, decorations, entertainment, food, beverages, activities, invitations, and the like.
If your expertise is in just one of the following areas, say decorating, see if you can partner with another event planner, caterer, or establishment. Show them photos of a personal event that you’ve done in the past to give them an idea of what you’re capable of doing. Once you have a solid referral under your belt, you’ll be able to pitch yourself to others who may need your help this holiday season.
12. Sell Used Items
Years ago, I cleaned out my daughter’s closet right before Christmas, and I came up with a couple of bags of clothes, some shoes, a baby monitor, a highchair, and a pack-and-play. I took the clothes, shoes, and baby monitor to a local resale shop and made $44.00. I then listed the highchair and the pack-and-play on Craigslist, and I was able to sell those for another $160.00 for a total of $204.00 – not shabby for a couple of hours of work.
If you’re interested in selling items around your house for cash, start now! According to Statista, most people (39%) start their holiday shopping before the end of October. The sooner you post your items online or take them to a consignment store, the better chance you’ll have of selling them, hence, earning cash! Items that I’ve found that sell particularly well around this time is toys, formal wear, and new items that still have their tags.
Related Content: Over 100 Online Platforms to Sell Your Stuff for Money
13. Travel Planner
Take the stress out of someone’s day by offering travel planning services. Search for the cheapest holiday flights, car rentals, and hotel accommodations; you can even add extras in like things to do and see while they’re visiting another area of the country.
To get started, check companies like:
Holiday vacation is the perfect time for students to get caught up in their studies, and this is where you come in! Tutoring can be an incredible at-home job opportunity, especially for those who have extensive knowledge of a subject, such as a college student majoring in English, a school teacher, or an individual fluent in a foreign language. Besides the regular subjects like math, science, and English, they are also at-home positions for ESL teachers and test scorers!
Check out platforms like:
15. Seasonal Work From Home Jobs 2020
With all of the extra orders coming in for the holidays, retail companies are looking for additional home-based customer service representatives to handle the increased call volume. Cash in on this home-based opportunity – who knows it could lead to a long-term position.
Here are some companies that amp up their remote teams in the fall for increased seasonal demands:
- Academy Sports + Outdoors (TX, OK, and AL)
- Blooms Today
- Collage.com (MI, OH, WA, NY, MO, and VA)
- Contract World
- HSN (search the phrase, work at home)
- Mattel (WI)
- Neiman Marcus (TX)
- Nordstrom (TX)
- Omaha Steaks (NE, SD, TX, IA, NV, and FL)
- Saddleback Leather
- UncommonGoods (under customer service)
- Vail Resorts
- Wayfair (click remote on the lefthand sidebar)
- West Marine
Large brands, small business owners, and even bloggers like to take time off for the holidays, so why not offer to remove some of their workloads by offering your writing services? From blog posts and newsletters to articles and advertising copy — people are always looking for talented writers.
Here are some good places to search for freelance writing gigs:
Short tasks, also known as micro jobs, are assignments that can be completed in a short amount of time. Tasks may include taking surveys, internet research, running errands, writing, graphic design, proofreading, data entry, and lots more. The wonderful thing about short tasks is you don’t need long periods to get the work done since its project-based and not a set amount of hours.
Here are a few places to check out:
18. Snow Removal
If you love being outdoors and you don’t mind manual labor, shoveling snow or removing snow with a snowblower can be a great way to earn some extra holiday cash.
Create flyers and pass them around your neighborhood or post them on nearby bulletin boards. If you have a neighborhood Facebook Group, you can also tout your services there (be sure you abide by the group’s posting rules). According to this article, you can earn approximately $20 per driveway.
Here are a couple of ways to get connected with those in need of snow plowing services:
More than likely, you’ll be doing a fair amount of holiday shopping for your loved ones this holiday season, so why not get paid for it?! Sites like Rakuten (formerly, Ebates) allow you to earn cashback from online purchases — and it’s entirely free to use. In fact, I suggested it to my newsletter subscribers, and here’s what one of them had to say:
“I wanted to thank you and your partners for the information you gave me to earn extra income. I’ve never made money online before, I’ve tried, but failed many times. This week I tried out Ebates and made $102.06, and my wife made $22.13 just today. I am so overwhelmed and beyond excited. I have tears of joy. My passion is to help the inner-city youth, especially in the Chicago area, the elderly, and our vets. Thank you, and God bless you.” – Paulus, from Mount Prospect, Illinois.
I’ve personally been using Rakuten since 2013, and during that time, I’ve earned over $2,152.19 cashback — not bad!
20. Christmas Tree Removal
Going to the Christmas tree farm is a fun family tradition, but removing the ornaments and getting rid of the tree is another story. After the holidays, offer tree removal services by picking up used trees and disposing of them at your local recycling center. You can even offer to remove the decorations and put them away for an additional fee. The cash that you earn can be used to pay off your holiday bills.
Related Content: 15 Ways to Turn Your Trash into Cash
There are lots of ways to earn extra cash for the holidays! The best way to make enough money for your holiday shopping and extras is to start earlier than later. Most retail companies start hiring in September and October for seasonal positions. If you’re considering using an on-demand site or app, start the application process now, so you’ll be ready to go when the seasonal demands hit. And if you’re considering making holiday crafts — by all means, start making them now! As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
How are you earning extra pocket cash this Christmas? Drop us a note; we’d love to hear from you!
Originally published December 11, 2009. Content updated October 9, 2020.