Big retailers typically hire hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers around the winter holidays to keep pace with the uptick in consumption that accompanies the festivities. Hotels, restaurants and shipping companies are also among the places looking for temporary employment as the end of the year approaches.
Seasonal work can also be a way to save money as well as make it. Target, for instance, has said it will hire 130,000 people over the holidays and offer a discount to all employees — which can be a big bonus for some.
"If you spend all your money during the holidays at Target, then getting that employee discount could be really significant," said Kathy Kristof, founder of SideHusl, an independent review site that rates different freelance jobs. (Kristof is also a former columnist for CBS MoneyWatch.)
But for those who don't want to deal with hoards of shoppers, there are less conventional alternatives to working as a salesperson or package deliverer. Here are some of the best ways to earn extra cash over the holidays, according to Kristof and other experts.
If you're a dog lover
Dog walking opportunities abound around the holidays when many people who travel leave their pets at home. Use an app like Rover to be matched with four-legged friends itching to get outside. Dog walkers and sitters make up to $1,000 a month, according to Rover. The hours are flexible and you are paid immediately through the service.
If you're a parent
Rent out your extra baby gear to out-of-towners who have opted not to lug around their own cribs and toys. This can generate around $600 per month, said Kristof, who recommends Baby Quip, an app that connects local parents with their own baby equipment to traveling parents. The equipment owner gets to set the price for rentals and delivery.
For boat owners
Boat owners can rent out their watercraft — and their captain services, too — using apps like BoatSetter and GetMyBoat. Earn roughly $100 an hour for the boat rental and $40 an hour if you're the captain.
"On the off-chance that you own a boat, there is a Christmas parade in Newport Beach, California, and a lot of people like to go cruise around the harbor. You can rent your boat and require that you are the captain. You can charge per person or by the hour for the experience," Kristof said.
For food industry pros
Sign up for an app like Qwick to pick up extra kitchen shifts around the holidays. It connects servers, dishwashers and cooks with hotels, convention centers and grocers that need extra help.
"In the holiday season, we've definitely seen an uptick in business," said Qwick COO Blaine Light. Some large companies post openings for as many as 40 to 50 chefs in a day if they are hosting an event, Light said. In general, companies post two to three times their normal volume of openings in November and December.
Servers and bartenders can expect to earn around $18.50 an hour through Qwick.
If you like to host
For those who aren't persnickety about their homes, consider renting out your space for a party or a cooking class.