As Christmas starts to get closer and the festivities start to ramp up a notch, money can start to become a little light in the pocket, what with all the gift buying, the parties and the gluttonous detours to the Tesco cheese and wine aisle. Luckily though, the holidays are a great time for job seekers too, with thousands of temporary seasonal roles on offer – perfect for earning an extra bit of cash to cover the costs of all those gratuitous Gingerbread Lattes.
So if you’re looking to top up your bank account – or at least keep it on an even keel going into January – these are the best Christmas jobs out there:
1. Santa Clause
Obviously! Shopping centres and malls the world over feature grottos throughout the holiday period, giving children a chance to have an exclusive meet and greet with the big man. The only requirements for the role involve being slightly rotund around the midriff area as well as maintaining an effortlessly jolly persona (successfully passing a criminal record check would presumably help too).
The pay is good though, with events company Iconic claiming mall Santas can earn anything between $10,000 and $60,000 dependent on experience and location within the five-week window – not bad for a season’s work.
2. Christmas Elf
If you like the sound of the whole grotto thing, but donning a huge red outfit and a fake beard isn’t really for you, then don’t panic. You can wear a ridiculous green one instead and help out as a Christmas elf. Your job description is pretty straightforward too: assist Santa in his general responsibilities, keep an orderly queue, and make sure each child leaves with some form of festive candy for their trouble.
3. Ski Instructor
If you really want to embrace the whole romanticised vision of a snowy Christmas, then you can apply to work in a seasonal position at a ski resort. Travel operators offer a wide variety of roles, including everything from chefs, cleaners and bartenders, to guest services, management and ski instructors. The best part is, in your downtime you’ll get to experience first-hand an authentic Alpine winter, with log fires, chalets and hot chocolate; all the things you see on the Christmas repeat of The Sound of Music, but without your nan's drunken snoring.
4. Retail Worker
Alternatively, you can stay at home and take an active role in the organised chaos that is Christmas retail temping. Pretty much every high street store in existence take on extra staff over the festive period to meet the higher demand – easy money, right?
Wrong. Breaking up fights between frenzied and desperate shoppers? Check. Dealing with the colourful ravings of irate customers as they miss out on the last must-have item in stock? Been there. And working more hours than you even realised existed in a week (even though it said part-time on the advert)? Put it this way – you’ll earn every penny you make in this hectic and frenzied industry.
5. Delivery Temp
That’s why most smart people do their shopping online now – meaning postal delivery couriers need an extra hand too. UPS, Yodel and the Royal Mail all advertise for thousands of extra positions during the festive period, primarily in sorting offices but also in driving and driver support positions. Many of these temp roles can result in permanent employment too.
6. Uber Driver
Another way to monetize your driving license during the winter months is to work for Uber, the taxi service app where you can dictate your own working hours. The high number of office parties and general festive spirit mean that there are plenty of revelers and partygoers who require picking up and taking home. Premiums are higher at this time of year as well, meaning that as a driver you could make some pretty serious money.
7. Christmas Cracker Joke Writer
OK, we kind of made this one up. But when was the last time you saw an original joke in a Christmas cracker? Surely they must be running out by now, meaning at some point the companies that produce these crackers will need new material. This is where you could come in – especially if you are an authority on dad jokes and slightly awful puns.
8. Queen’s Speech Writer
If you’d prefer to dictate something a little more somber, then you could always try to give the Queen a helping hand in putting together her annual message to the Commonwealth. Although the words are traditionally self-written (apart from in 1932, when none other than Rudyard Kipling produced a draft), the Queen has ministers that advise her on the content.
If you don’t work in a high-ranking position close to the monarchy though, then maybe you can try to help with Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message, which in recent years has been delivered by Edward Snowden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Marge Simpson among others. The 2017 speaker is yet to be announced.
For pretty obvious reasons, people tend to get very excited about turkeys around this time of year – nobody wants to be that family who leave it too late to secure a bird. As a butcher, this means your services are in high demand. Christmas is probably the most profitable time of the year, as people indulge themselves with all kinds of meats – especially festive favourites such as pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon for the uninitiated).
10. Gift Wrapper
For the creative and the artistic among us, wrapping other people’s presents is a good way to earn an extra bit of cash, although beware – many of the big high street stores don’t take gift wrapping lightly, employing professional consultants to train their staff to a high standard. Alternatively, you can offer your services privately, although don’t be surprised if the thought of picking up a scissors and tape makes you physically wretch by the time you come to wrap your own presents.
11. Personal Shopper
If you’re not dexterous enough to wrap people’s gifts for them, why not buy them instead? Many people dislike shopping during the Christmas period, and would rather pass it off to more willing and capable hands. You can work either in a freelance role or for boutiques and department stores like John Lewis and Selfridges; if you’re good, you could even land yourself a high-end client, charged with securing gifts worth anywhere between $10,000 to $2m.
12. Christmas Tree Decorator
Usually based in department stores, shopping malls and other public spaces, decorating Christmas trees is a hot ticket during the holidays. If you’ve got a creative flair when it comes to baubles and tinsel, this could be the seasonal role for you, although it is unfortunately just that – seasonal. You could compensate by branching out (get it?) into general Christmas decoration, although if you don’t enjoy climbing ladders maybe you should stick to something a little safer…
13. Christmas Light Untangler
Like this! As long as you don’t manage to get the wires wrapped around your neck, you should be relatively safe as a Christmas Light Untangler, a real position that was offered by Tesco in 2015 to Anya Mugridge, a student from Nottingham. Mugridge was instructed to untangle 3 metres of lights in under 3 minutes to prove herself, with the full-time position requiring a “passionate and knowledgeable” disposition.
The job was created after Tesco conducted a survey in its Wrexham store, in which 89 per cent of customers claimed they would rather buy new lights than take on the aggravation of untangling the old ones.
14. Ice Skating Instructor
Many towns and cities utilise temporary ice rinks over the winter period to get people in the Christmas spirit; naturally a lot of people will want to learn how to ice skate. If you’re a competent and qualified coach then you could give basic lessons – for the most part though you would likely work mainly with children, holding their hand and allowing the adults to get on with making fools of themselves.
15. Mince Pie Chef
If you’d prefer to be a bit steadier on your feet, you can earn your wares by baking and selling everyone’s favourite Xmas treat – the mince pie. If you don’t work professionally in a kitchen or a bakery then don’t worry; if your pies are good enough (maybe you have a mysterious family recipe, or you just really, really like watching Bake-Off), then people will buy them. Maybe make a few freebies first to get people hooked – and then watch as the requests flood in…
16. Rabbit Sitter
Although pet sitting is a year-long business, Christmas is a particularly busy time as people travel to visit relatives but don’t want their pets to be alone. One of the less prominent animals that require such supervision are rabbits, who, it turns out, can be quite spoilt. Rabbit-sitter Claire Rowland gives the bunnies in her care presents on Christmas Day, and even takes them for rabbit-friendly cakes, as well as putting together a herb basket as a festive treat. And I only got a pair of socks and a Top Gear boxset last year…
17. Reindeer Handler
On a similar theme, if you’re going to be responsible for the welfare of other animals, then why not look after the most Christmassy animal there is? Angie Flint runs a reindeer hire company in the UK and regularly provides her animals for festive parties and events. “I’ll usually take them in pairs to keep them calm,” she says. “We limit meet and greets to 2 hours so they don’t get tired, and they can get away from hands if they don’t want to be stroked. Their wellbeing always comes first”.
These are of course just a few of the more outlandish suggestions for seasonal work; there are many other conventional roles that simply require extra numbers at Christmas, such as caterers, warehouse workers and shelf stackers. Unfortunately, unskilled workers in retail and hospitality positions don’t see any real wage rises for the unsociable hours; skilled professions on the other hand are handsomely compensated.
The highest paying include healthcare roles, with locum doctors and emergency nurses for example able to earn between £750 and £1,000 for working the Christmas Day shift, while many private companies offer incentives such as double time. For the rest of us though, you may just have to rely on that extra seasonal goodwill to make it worth your time!
Have you ever worked in any of the roles on this list? Let us know how you found it in the comments…