11 Ways to Make Money on Thanksgiving


In recent years, as the hours of Black Friday shopping have expanded, the topic of work on Thanksgiving has been somewhat controversial. But whether you think malls should be open on Turkey Day or not, the fact is that some of us want and need to earn money on this holiday. If you're not employed somewhere that's paying you to punch a clock, but you still want to make a buck on Thanksgiving, here are some ideas for turning other folks' family day into your payday.

1. Creating homemade invitations

People who are organizing large, elegant gatherings might appreciate having a custom-made invitation to send out. And if you want to be full-service, offer to address and mail out those invites as well. You could also offer custom place cards that match the invite.

You can design the cards on DIY sites such as Vistaprint or Zazzle, or use graphic design software and have them printed at a professional print shop. Make sure to charge enough to cover the printing costs and to have some profit to pay for your time. (See also: 5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online)

2. Event planning

If you're a great host but don't plan on hosting your own Thanksgiving feast, and you're skilled at keeping an organized to-do list, offer your services to overwhelmed, inexperienced hosts who don't have time to put in the prep work. Social media and local family network sites would be good places to advertise.

3. Home organizing

Getting ready to host dinner guests or even take in out-of-town family overnight is when people look around their homes and realize they need to declutter. If you've ever toyed with offering your services as a professional organizer, now's a good time to try it. Organizers can charge between $30 and $80 per hour, according to CostHelper.

4. Deep cleaning

A week or more before the big day, hosts may want to have someone in to get dust bunnies out from under guest beds, clean ovens and stovetops, and wash windows. You can find cleaning jobs through TaskRabbit, which estimates you can charge about $22 per hour for cleaning (although the site will keep a cut), or advertise locally or through family and friends.

Thanksgiving hosts will also want day-of cleaning so that end tables shine and carpets are freshly vacuumed when the doorbell rings for the first guests' arrival. Don't want to rise early? Hire yourself out to wash the dinner dishes in the evening instead.

5. Grocery shopping

Those potatoes and yams aren't going to jump off the shelves and deliver themselves, and some folks get hives from shopping amongst holiday crowds. Sign up with InstaCart or Shipt to pick up and deliver groceries using your own car. Both services say grocery delivery can pay up to $25 per hour, plus tips.

6. Baking

Bakeries are overwhelmed by pre-orders for pumpkin pies around the holidays. If you are a pie expert, you can turn your home kitchen into a baking station for a day or two, and offer Thanksgiving Day delivery to set yourself apart. Homemade breads and rolls are another idea for oven entrepreneurs. Visit a local high-end bakery or patisserie to find out what you can charge.

If you are baking for more than just friends and relatives, check your local laws about selling homemade products. California, for instance, has a "cottage food" law that allows the sale of home-produced baked goods and certain other foods.

7. Renting out your space

A lot of people host out-of-town guests for the holiday weekend, but not everyone has someone to put them up. This is a great time to try listing your spare bedroom on Airbnb, especially if you live in a residential area that doesn't have many hotels. The beauty of this is that you can make money even if you have Thanksgiving travel plans yourself, by renting out your vacant home. I've done the same over the Christmas holiday and had great results. (See also: 5 Easy Ways to Make Good Money From Airbnb)

8. Driving for Uber or Lyft

If you've ever considered driving for Uber or Lyft, the airport crowds on the day before Thanksgiving offer plenty of opportunities to make good money. You can set your own hours in the days leading up to the holiday and will probably have busy shifts taking travelers to their destinations. (See also: How to Earn Extra Money Driving for Uber or Lyft)

9. Pet-sitting

For people who are out of town for the whole holiday weekend, you could visit their home and feed, water, and walk pets, or take pets into your own home. Some hosts will want to send out noisy, excitable, or allergy-causing pets for the day, or even simply pay to have them taken on a long walk. Care.com and Rover are sites you could sign up with to find pet-sitting gigs. Expect to make around $25 a night for hosting a dog. Sign up in advance, because you may have to pass a background check before you can start pet sitting. (See also: How to Make $400+ a Week as a Pet Sitter)

10. Serving and photographing

Hosts with big crowds will also hire waiters, bartenders, even photographers for the big day. These roles will take the pressure off of them so they can focus more on hosting and enjoying time with their guests, rather than running around refilling drinks and taking selfies. Find local opportunities on GigSalad.

11. Place holding

With stores offering big sales opening on Thanksgiving Day instead of on Black Friday, some folks will leave their families to go wait in line. Others will pay someone on TaskRabbit to wait for them. Bring a book!

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