The holiday side hustle

Creative ways to make extra holiday cash.

Making the holidays merry and bright can get expensive. From gifts to parties to decorations, if you’re like most Americans, you spend more money in December than any other month of the year.1

One way to cover these costs and save money is to make extra cash from a seasonal side gig. And while local shops will always need help ringing up sales and stocking shelves, retail work is just one way to earn extra money for Christmas and all your holiday gift-giving.

When it comes to side hustles, the game is changing. If you’re willing to get creative and look beyond retail (or if you celebrate different holidays throughout December), you’ll find that extra cash can be easier to come by than that perfect gift for your significant other.

Take advantage of the sharing economy

Do you have a working car and valid driver’s license? Is your cozy apartment or charming home sitting empty in December while you visit family? Thanks to the rise of the sharing economy, there are more ways than ever to turn things you already own into cash for gifts.

If you’ve ever considered driving for a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, December is a great time to get started. With all the holiday traffic to and from parties, shopping malls and airports, you’ll have plenty of customers. Many apps even pay drivers extra to work on holidays.2 If you don't mind working on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you can profit off the extra holiday traffic. Prefer delivering packages instead of people? You can use your trusty sedan to deliver gifts and earn $18–$25 an hour driving for Amazon Flex.

If you’re traveling during December, renting out your home or apartment through a website like Airbnb can be a smart way to cover the cost of plane tickets or car rentals. It also provides peace of mind as a dark, empty house alerts burglars to your absence. That’s cash in your wallet and added protection for your home and valuables.

Profit off the party

The holiday party is a December staple. Another great way to make extra money for Christmas is by marketing your unique skills to party hosts.

  • Always wanted to start a catering business? The holidays are the perfect time of year to snag new customers. Pull out your signature Hanukkah latke recipe and get cooking.

  • If you’re an expert organizer, some busy hosts will happily pay you to do the party planning for them.

  • Have a great singing voice or know how to play seasonal songs on the piano or guitar? You can charge upwards of $100 an hour to provide entertainment at parties.3

  • Remember that holiday parties also mean people need babysitters, valet services, DJs and decorators.

Websites like The Bash make it easier than ever to connect with someone willing to pay for your skill set. No matter your special talent, there is a way to profit off the season’s parties while helping spread the holiday cheer.

Surf the web for cash

Shopping for deals. Watching videos. Writing reviews of products and services. You probably already do all of these online tasks on a regular basis, so why not make some money while you surf? Companies like Swagbucks will pay you to shop, take online surveys, search the web and watch videos. As you do those simple tasks, you earn points that can be swapped out for gift cards and turned into presents under your tree.

While a traditional seasonal retail job works for many, it may not be the right fit for you. If you’re willing to get creative, there are more ways than ever to make extra money during the holidays. Rather than looking at this time of year as a financial drain, make the most of the season and give yourself the best kind of present: extra money in the bank.

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