For students, the Christmas holidays go hand in hand with visions of sleeping in, traveling, and generally taking a much-needed break after exams. But mid-winter also brings opportunities to pick up seasonal employment that boosts savings – along with resumes.
By taking on a Christmas temp job, you can earn extra spending money, gain valuable work experience, build connections, and even scope out new industries you may want to pursue long term post-graduation.
As an entrepreneur running seasonal businesses for over 20 years, I‘ve both managed and mentored hundreds of students in these exact roles. And I can assure you short-term holiday gigs can lead to lifelong impact.
So if you‘re a student looking to maximize earnings and experiences this Christmas, read on for insider tips to discover roles perfectly matched to your needs and long-term ambitions.
Hot Holiday Gigs for Students Across Industries
The winter holiday period generates over $850 billion in retail sales annually, a 20% bump from the rest of the year according to Retail Dive. With online spending also hitting record highs, companies across industries take on seasonal staff.
Let‘s explore some of the most common and promising Christmas temp jobs for students:
1. Retail Sales Assistant
Busy flagship stores like Macys and Nordstrom‘s require armies of sales assistants to meet holiday foot traffic. In 2020 alone, US retailers added over 700,000 extra workers according to Hiring Lab.
As a retail assistant, you‘ll guide customers, handle transactions, merchandise shelves, and support visual merchandising needs like decorating displays. It builds confidence, communication abilities and product knowledge – strong foundations for future sales or marketing roles.
You‘ll often earn additional wages through commissions and may qualify for employee discounts – a nice perk for scoring gifts on a student budget.
Key skills gained: Customer service, sales, merchandising, inventory management
2. Restaurant Server
During November and December, bars and restaurants brim with large groups celebrating the season. Need rises for both front and back end staff like servers, hosts, bussers and cooks.
Working as a server teaches how to thrive in stressful, fast-paced environments – abilities coveted by many post-grad employers. Balancing large parties cultivates impressive organizational skills. And the tips don‘t hurt either.
Key skills gained: Communication, multitasking, problem solving, stress management
3. Delivery Driver
Rising e-commerce means transportation and shipping companies like UPS scale up fleets through the holidays. Drivers with clean records can earn $20+ per hour delivering packages for Amazon, groceries for Instacart or meals through UberEats.
You‘ll become intimately familiar with roads and layouts in your area – handy knowledge for future sales or field service roles. Map reading and navigating unusual locations also improves spatial reasoning and rapid decision making.
Key skills gained: Time management, communication, customer service, spatial reasoning
4. Warehouse Team Member
Behind surging online orders lies logistics networks ramping up warehouse staff. As an order picker or packer, you‘ll locate inventory, assemble shipments and ensure timely dispatch.
It‘s physically demanding but forges serious work ethic, attention to detail and inventory skills applicable across many industries like manufacturing and supply chain.
Key skills gained: Organization, inventory management, communication, attention to detail
5. Gift Wrapper
Department stores often hire creatively gifted students exclusively for the gift wrapping role. Beyond basic wrapping, the real artistry comes in embellishing packages with ornate bows, ribbons, pine cones plus gift tags customized with calligraphy names or messages.
It allows you to spark inspiration through creating Holiday magic for customers. Their genuine joy and gratitude makes even the busiest days wonderfully worthwhile.
Key skills gained: Creativity, attention to detail, customer service, manual dexterity
6. Event Planner Assistant
Hospitality companies and event planning firms host triple the amount of Holiday parties, weddings and corporate functions in November/December. As an assistant, you‘ll contact vendors, organize logistics, manage guest lists and support day-of setup/operations.
It‘s long hours but grants invaluable behind-the-scenes experience into corporate event planning that could shape a future profession.
Key skills gained: Organization, communication, vendor management, problem solving
7. Santa‘s Helper/Photographer
The Santa visit business booms through Christmas providing perfect short term gigs. As a Helper, you‘ll photograph children on Santa‘s lap and manage queues. At upscale malls or photography studios, Elves assist with kid wrangling and providing set decor.
Sure you have to don the ears and smile endlessly but spreading joy and magic to little tykes makes even the most hectic days merry and bright.
Key skills gained: Childcare, photography, hospitality service, entertainment
8. Christmas Market Vendor
Outdoor holiday markets need vendors selling everything from warm drinks to handcrafted gifts and treats. As a student, you can master retail operations by managing your own stall through the season.
Running a mini business teaches important lessons in sales, merchandising, marketing and money management – while keeping 100% of your profits.
Key skills gained: Sales, merchandising, marketing, money management
9. Tree Seller
Students with access to vehicle/trucks can purchase wholesale evergreen trees then sell individual units to families and stores. You‘ll negotiate supplier costs, set competitive prices, interact with customers and deliver final products.
Trying your hand as a mini tree entrepreneur offers fantastic exposure to retail and distribution businesses you may one day launch yourself after graduating.
Key skills gained: Retail, distribution, sales, small business operations
10. Residential Decorator
Stringing lights, hanging garlands and setting up lawn inflatables brings extra income for handy students with a festive flare. Many local decorators even rent storage space year-round to securely house client decorations between seasons.
If you love transforming homes into winter wonderlands, its a flexible way to earn above average wages while deciding if you may like to pursue related fields like staging, design or property services long term.
Key skills gained: Creativity, design, client service, manual services
11. Festive Treat Baker
Capitalize on Christmas cookie demand by marketing homemade holiday confections to families, offices and parties. Shop ingredients wholesale to maximize profits.
Beyond earning fast cash, launching a mini baking business helps determine if you enjoy the operations or culinary aspect of food industries you may tackle professionally post graduation.
Key skills gained: Baking, culinary skills, small business operations
12. Retail Product Demonstrator
Brands hiring students to demo merch in stores is a marketing staple. But holiday product demonstrators have the joy of sampling things like hot cocoa, seasonal candy/cheese or warming hand/feet lotions.
Interacting with customers builds networking and peoples skills useful in both sales and media fields. And who wouldn‘t love unlimited chocolate and treats?
Key skills gained: Brand marketing, customer service, sales, networking
13. Mall Retail Assistant Manager
Retail giants like Macy‘s boost in-store leadership to oversee heightened sales staff, merchandising and customer experience through the holidays.
As a temp manager, you‘ll supervise entire teams plus implement floorsets, planograms and displays. It provides student managers an invaluable crash course in retail leadership to prep for future executive careers.
Key skills gained: Leadership, supervision, merchandising, team development
14. Toy Demonstrator
Toy makers like LEGO, Mattel and Hasbro dispatch students to major retailers over Black Friday and Christmas. Demonstrators construct flashy toy installations, facilitate hands-on demos and most excitingly -PLAY with kids and products all day long.
A dream job for the young at heart that could open doors to join toy companies long term in marketing, sales or even product development roles post-graduation.
Key skills gained: Brand marketing, customer service, public speaking, child entertainment
15. IT Equipment Set-up Assistant
The tech surge through the holidays drives demand for students to help families set up, integrate and troubleshoot new electronics/smart devices. If you love optimizing systems and gadgets while teaching others, its a terrific temp gig.
Great way to gain technical support experience plus customer service skills that technology firms universally value in permanent hires.
Key skills gained: Technical support, customer service, instructional communication
While just a sample of the spectrum of Christmas jobs perfect for students, they demonstrate how seasonal work provides not just extra cash but also long-lasting career advantages.
Let‘s review some insider strategies to lock in the most promising holiday opportunities fast while the hiring window remains open.
Tips for Landing Your Dream Christmas Temp Gig
Retailers and hospitality firms start seasonal recruiting as early as late summer. Have applications in by early Fall at the latest or else open jobs snap up incredibly quickly.
Emphasize Transferable Abilities
Draw clear connections between existing skills from campus leadership, past roles or internships and abilities required for Christmas positions. Align to their needs.
Show Genuine Enthusiasm
Hiring managers receive a deluge of applications. Display passion for holidays and their specific brand/products to stand out.
Prepare Holiday Interview Stories
Have holiday anecdotes ready that convey reliability, service commitment and ability to deal positively with stressful situations.
Check Industry-Specific Job Boards
Beyond broader sites like Indeed, niche boards like RestaurantJobs.com and RetailWorker.com typically post even more temp listings.
Conclusion – Seize the Season
Christmas temp jobs hold real potential to deliver lasting impact for students beyond just fattening wallets. Gorgeous gift wrappers translate creative talents into future design careers. Intrepid delivery drivers map out towns while fueling spatial reasoning. Budding bakers and future restaurateurs validate passions through managing holiday kiosks and serving tables.
The flurry of festive gigs allows you to make money while gaining exposure to industries you may wish to pursue long term. All within flexible schedules tailored perfectly for students.
So rather than just graciously receiving gifts this season, consider becoming the gift that keeps giving far into the future by taking on a strategic Christmas temp job suited to your skills and ambitions.