The festive season is generally an expensive time of year. But budgets can be even tighter when you work for yourself, as clients will wind activity down for the holidays. And if you’re not working, you won’t be getting paid, which can run on into January. So, if you need to boost your income, here are some potential Christmas side hustles for freelancers.
Most of the opportunities will be relatively low paid, but can benefit you in other ways. And some could even become a festive success story. Whether you’re using your freelancing skills in festive ways or doing something completely different, every bit of extra cash can help if you’re feeling the pinch this Christmas.
And if you’re struggling with debts at any time, take a look at the IPSE guide to managing personal debt when you’re self-employed, which includes some of the methods available, and lists organisations able to help and support you.
Sell holiday arts and crafts
If you’re a creative freelancer, why not try selling some festive designs or products? And this doesn’t just apply to artists and designers.
Writers can offer bespoke themed festive stories or poems, and musicians are able to compose personalised songs to express some holiday cheer. And whatever your freelance occupation, if your hobbies include crafts from calligraphy to sewing or pottery, there’s a whole range of Christmas-related products and items you could consider selling.
With designs and digital items, it can cost you nothing to list your products and services for sale through a range of websites, including Redbubble, Zazzle and other print-on-demand stores. Or there are specialist sites for selling specific products, such as Thortful for cards.
Selling physical items is possible through Etsy, eBay and others. Just make sure that you check the rules and regulations for health and safety before offering anything. And to sell bespoke compositions, poems, or other similar ideas, try general freelancing sites such as Fiverr or PeoplePerHour.
Bar work and hospitality
Pulling pints in a busy pub or restaurant over Christmas won’t be the easiest second job or side hustle, and you may need to demonstrate some previous experience. But if you’ve waitressed or worked behind a bar before, you can often find opportunities to dust off those skills and make some extra money during the busy festive period.
While it’s typically not the most well-paid opportunity, you’re able to plan around regular hours and payments. And if you’re feeling lonely or isolated as a freelancer, it’s a good way to meet new people, whether colleagues or customers. Especially if you live near a local pub or café which is popular in the community.
You can find bar work and hospitality jobs via the main listing sites, including Indeed, Total Jobs or LeisureJobs. Or by following local pubs and bars on social media and responding if they put out a call for additional staff.
Courier and delivery driving
Another option which guarantees payment is to take some shifts as a courier or delivery driver. The rates, requirements and hours will depend whether you’re transporting purchases from Amazon, food deliveries for a supermarket, or handing over an order from your local takeaway.
If you’re supplying your own vehicle, make sure you understand the implications for insurance and running costs or maintenance. And how physically demanding the job may be, particularly if you’re constantly loading and unloading heavy good shops or large electrical items. You should also check whether you’re being paid on a fixed hourly rate, or only when you’re making a delivery.
The plus side is that you don’t have to interact with lots of people, as you’ll be out on the road a lot. And Christmas deliveries are more likely to be rewarded by a decent tip when people are in the festive spirit.
Providing holiday-related tasks
If you’re skilled at wrapping presents, decorating houses, organising parties or cooking, then you can offer those talents to others during the festive season.
Christmas can be stressful for a lot of people, especially when you’re juggling the demands of sorting presents, decorations, entertaining friends and family, and still having time to actually celebrate. So they may be happy to pay someone else to take care of tasks, especially if they want to impress with their wrapping skills, or by offering great food to guests.
And if you have a reasonably large van or pick-up truck, then Christmas Tree delivery and removal is a potential option, along with post-party cleaning up. You can even be hired to queue in line for busy shopping and festive events, or to assemble toys so they’re ready to be played with.
Again, just ensure you’re taking all the necessary steps to ensure your safety and wellbeing, especially if you’re likely to be perched on ladders trying to hang Christmas lights.
You can find potential clients in local community groups on social media, or by listing your skills on sites like Taskrabbit.
Babysitting, pet sitting or house sitting
With Christmas parties and work events to attend, parents and animal owners will have more need for help to look after their loved ones. If you’ve got experience in babysitting or looking after pets, then that will help you find potential clients, and there are various specialist job sites including Childcare and Care if you want to look after humans, or Rover if you prefer animals.
And if you’d like to spend time away from home, and potentially get paid for it, then sites like Trusted Housesitters or MindaHome offer locations in the UK and abroad which could make for a fun festive break as well as a way to earn some extra income.
If you own a property and want or need to make some additional money, why not check out our guide on how to turn your home into a side hustle.
Temporary retail or warehouse work
Lots of stores will advertise for additional staff to cover the busy festive shopping season, so it’s a fairly realistic and reliable option. And you often won’t need a lot of experience to get a temporary job in retail over Christmas.
It can be busy and stressful, but like bar work, it does offer you the chance to work alongside colleagues and potentially have a more sociable experience in comparison to freelancing. And you also get the benefit of more regular hours and payment compared to some of the other options.
If you’re able to find something related to your hobbies and interests, or even your freelance career, it can make the job more enjoyable, and potentially lead to other opportunities in the future. And if there’s a staff discount, then you can also save on presents or when you’re buying things for yourself.
You can find temporary retail work on all of the big job sites, including Indeed, Reed, Totaljobs and more. Or try getting in touch directly with any smaller, local retailers you’d really like to work for.
All of those shops and the army of delivery drivers also need people to supply them with products, so warehouse work also ramps up over the festive period.
Make use of your downtime
If client projects have slowed down over the Christmas period and you have time available, you don’t have to just focus on festive-themed ways to earn extra income.
It’s important to take a break and spend time with family and friends. But if you do want to invest part of the holidays into earning more money now, and throughout 2023, then there are a wide range of options and side hustles that you can start in just a few hours.
Whether it’s writing a book or designing a teaching course, launching a new eCommerce, reseller, or affiliate business, or investing your freelance career by overhauling your website, online presence or CV, it’s a great time to prepare for the coming year.
That’s particularly true if you have a side hustle which tends to be busiest in the Spring or Summer months, as preparations now will increase your chance of success in the coming months.
Become Father Christmas
With Santa being so busy organising elves to make presents and checking who has been naughty or nice, various venues need someone to stand in for him.
Leisure parks, garden centres and other businesses will tend to prefer candidates who resemble the traditional image of Father Christmas (or Mrs Claus), and you’ll need to be prepared to offer the festive spirit to children and their parents across potentially long shifts. You may also need to submit to a background (DBS) check, but costumes and reindeer are usually supplied.
Along with a potential source of money and anecdotes, it also gives you a reason to join the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, to go alongside IPSE membership as a self-employed professional.
Don’t forget you can cut costs over Christmas, as well as earn
As freelancers, the natural inclination to any money issues will be to try and take on more work and clients. But that means it’s easy to overlook the possibility of cutting costs and saving.
The end of the year is a good time to look over your personal and business budgets, and to see if there is any unnecessary spending you can cut out for the future. Whether it’s recurring payments and subscriptions which aren’t being used, dormant domain names or a co-working space you haven’t actually visited for six months, reducing your expenditure will relieve some of the pressure on your income for the next year.
Whether you need to earn more money to cover your costs over Christmas or just fancy some bonus income, there are a whole range of festive opportunities and side hustles. Many will take little prior experience or commitment, so you can choose to invest as much, or as little, time as you have available.
With any freelance side hustle, it’s important to check your tax situation to ensure you’re declaring extra earnings as required. And to look at any regulations, health and safety requirements, insurance, and work expenses to make sure you don’t end up losing money or breaking any laws by mistake.
But a temporary festive hustle can offer a nice change of pace from your regular freelance career, letting you experience something different, meet other people, and supply you with plenty of work anecdotes alongside some extra cash.
Other freelance side hustles to earn extra income
Looking for ways to earn extra income alongside your self-employed or freelance career? Why not check out some of our other guides to bring in some extra money?