Ways to Make Money Over the Holiday Break


Your bank account will likely take a bit of a hit over the holidays, but you can balance out what’s going out by bringing more in if you commit to making money during your time off. To light your financial yuletide fire, here are a few ideas on how to pad your pockets over the holiday break. (See also: 9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight)


People with kids love to celebrate Christmas with their brood, but come Dec. 31, they’re ready to pawn them off for a night out on the town to celebrate the New Year. If you have a friend or family member with little ones, offer your babysitting services for the evening so they can enjoy the festivities kid-free. While New Year’s Eve is a boon for babysitters, also consider the nights before the holiday. There are often other parties planned for the few days leading up to it, so you may be able to make even more cash if you make yourself available for the entire week.

Returning Unwanted Gifts

Perhaps this isn’t the most ethical means of making money, depending on how you look at it, but if you’re strapped for cash and have receipts for gifts that you don’t want or need, return them to the store for a quick influx of funds.

Selling Old Stuff

While you have a few days off, go through your house and identify stuff with which you can part — electronic, appliances, even clothes — and list it online. There’s no better time than right after Christmas to unload a few unwanted belongings, because many people received cash in their Christmas cards, and you can be sure it’s burning holes in the pockets.

Renting Out Your Space

I rent out my guest bedroom year round, but the holiday period is the most popular. I triple book my space during this period, renting out the master bedroom, guest bedroom, and the living-room pullout to travelers who are looking to save cash on lodging for the holiday vacation. With the money I make from these bookings, I can afford to go on a vacation of my own and still send plenty of money to my savings account.

House Sitting

If you don’t have extra space to rent out to make extra money, consider offering to house sit for friends or family who are planning a holiday vacation. You’ll give them peace of mind that you’re taking good care of their home so they can relax on their vacation, and you’ll make a few bucks while you’re at it.

Pet Sitting 

When I go away on vacation I sometimes hire a friend to watch my dogs. This is beneficial for two reasons:

  1. It saves me some money over sending the dogs to an overnight care facility for several days.
  2. I feel better that my dogs are comfortable in their own home and being taken care of properly.

On the flip side, this year I’m actually heading to Miami to cat sit for a friend who’s letting me use his home as my vacation base, which will save me many hundreds of dollars that I would have spent on vacation without this opportunity.

Shoveling Snow

You’re at the mercy of your geographical area and the weather on this one, but if there’s snow on the ground, there’s an opportunity to make quick cash. When I was younger, I would go door to door in my neighborhood and ask if anyone needed their walkways and driveways cleaned off. Bundle up and bring a container of hot chocolate to keep you toasty throughout the day. I promise you, you’ll never sleep better than you do that night; it’s hard work, and it can pay well. 

Removing Christmas Trees

If you live in an area with lots of apartment buildings — like I do in New York City — chances are there will be people who will hire someone to remove their Christmas trees. If you don’t like the door-to-door method — which could be annoying to some folks who don’t celebrate Christmas — post an ad on Craigslist explaining your service. It would help to have a truck handy also, so you can load the trees in the back and deliver them to a facility that will mulch the trees — for which they may also pay you.

Have other ideas on how to make money over the holiday break? Let me know in the comments below.

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Meg Favreau's picture

House/pet sitting in Miami sounds SO awesome. Personally, I'll be doing the selling old stuff thing at my parents' house.

Guest's picture

Good ideas! Babysitting is an awesome way to make a good amount of money. Usually, parents are willing to pay very well for a night out by themselves, and I'm sure would even up the price for someone willing to give up their own New Years eve so that the could go out.