If you’re a student with some downtime over winter break, you could spend it catching up on sleep and binge-worthy shows. Or you could take on a temporary job and learn some new skills, make connections, and earn some cash. Extra money could help cover holiday presents, the cost of shopping the post-holiday sales, and of course with school expenses.
Not sure where to start job-wise? Keep reading to learn how to make money in the winter with these 21 ideas.
Winter Break Gigs and Cash Ideas for College Students
It may seem difficult to find a job that will only last a few weeks during winter break, but that’s actually a great time of year to find temporary work and make supplemental income as a college student. Whether helping out with the holiday rush, tapping your creative side, or otherwise digging into a project, there are many options.
Here, consider 21 popular ways to make quick cash.
1. Wrapping Gifts at a Store
When trying to figure out how to make money in the winter, it can help to think about what types of jobs are more in demand at that time of year. For example, many department stores and boutiques hire gift wrappers only for the holiday season. The temporary nature of this role makes it a great fit for students who only want to work for a few weeks over winter break. And there’s something so satisfying about creating a perfectly wrapped gift.
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2. Working as a Server for a Caterer
Another seasonal job students can pursue is working as a server for a catering company. You may find that many businesses need extra hands to help with holiday parties. Catering hiring needs shoot up once office and personal holiday parties get scheduled.
3. Pet Sitting
The holidays are a time when many people travel, but they don’t always take their furbaby with them. That makes it prime time to earn some cash by pet sitting. Feeding a Siamese or walking a Pomeranian could be an easy way to make money in the winter, not to mention a really fun one.
Are you an algebra ace? Almost fluent in Spanish? You could share your knowledge and earn some cash in the winter. Plenty of parents hire tutors over the holidays to help their kids catch up on subjects they’re struggling with or to help them get a head start before the new semester begins. This is also a great side job to keep during the school year.
5. Doing Holiday Shopping
How else to make money over winter break? Some busy professionals and families need help with errands and holiday shopping and prep in the winter. Ask around if any friends or family know someone who could use this kind of assistance. Or you could check online freelance job boards like Fiverr and TaskRabbit.
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6. Selling Unwanted Clothes or Goods
Plenty of people are searching for a bargain at the end of the year. Consider digging through your closet and selling clothes (or other belongings) that are no longer being used online or to a used clothing store (like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads) or a consignment shop. This can help you save money for college expenses next term or use the cash for something fun, like concert tickets.
7. Knitting and Crocheting
If you have a skill like knitting and crocheting, you can sell your wares (scarves, mittens, and more) at a local holiday fair or through an online portal like Etsy. The same holds true for other crafts or creative pursuits, like ceramics, jewelry making, and photography.
8. Start a YouTube Channel
If you’re on social media all the time, why not try to monetize it? Many people make money from their YouTube accounts, not to mention Instagram and other platforms. The holidays could be the perfect time to make and upload some shopping or unboxing videos. You could make some cash in the short term, as well as set up a passive income stream for future earnings.
9. Selling Old Textbooks
To make money over winter break, students can have an edge: selling last semester’s textbooks. Used textbooks might be bought back by a bookstore, whether a bricks-and-mortar or online one. You get the cash, and other students can nab a good deal by purchasing your old books.
10. Get a Restaurant or Café Job
Your local coffee bar or Italian eatery is likely to be extra busy this time of year. Whether you have barista or table-bussing skills, check for “Help Wanted” signs in windows and online job boards for opportunities to join the team.
11. House Sitting
Similar to pet sitting, house sitting is one of the easiest ways to make money during the winter, but with even less responsibility than taking care of a pet. As people travel to see relatives and vacation, they may need someone to occupy their home, water plants, pick up the mail, and more.
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12. Shoveling Snow
One way to get a workout in and make some extra cash at the same time is to offer snow shoveling services. Walking around your neighborhood after a snowstorm and offering to clear driveways can be a big help to busy professionals and the elderly who need a helping hand.
13. Selling Christmas Trees
Christmas tree lots hire a lot of seasonal help to assist customers with their tree buying needs. It can be a fun way to earn extra cash, plus tree lots smell great and can really get you in the holiday spirit.
Holiday parties leave parents with a lot of babysitting needs. Have some fun watching holiday movies with the kids while mom and dad get a night off. Check through your network or on local community boards (try online ones like Facebook groups or Nextdoor, too) to see who could use a hand.
15. Driving a Snowbird’s Car South for Them
Some people choose to flee colder climates in winter months and may need help getting their car to their new location. People who move south during the winter often hire someone to drive their car down so they can fly and skip the long drive. Yes, you’d have to finance a way to get back to your home base, but it could still net you a chunk of change.
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16. Selling Baked Goods
Baking is a great way to make money from home easily. If there are holiday parties coming up or local fairs, cookies and cakes are likely to be in high demand; see who could use some of your famous coconut chocolate-chip treats.
17. Cleaning Houses
Everyone wants a clean home before their guests arrive for the holidays. Offering cleaning services is a great way to make some extra cash over winter break. Also, post-holiday cleanup is likely to be in demand, after the family has visited, feasted, and opened gifts.
18. Lawn Mowing and Landscaping
It doesn’t snow in every part of the country. If you live somewhere warm, you can offer lawn mowing and landscaping services to their neighbors who may be too busy during the holidays to get their home looking sparkling clean for guests.
19. Drive for a Rideshare App
From airport pickups to post-holiday party pickups, a lot of people choose to use a rideshare service during the winter months. Signing up for one of these apps can also give you the flexibility to work only when it suits you. Another benefit of a side hustle like this is that it’s easy to continue during the school year.
20. Food Delivery
With the rise of food ordering and grocery apps, many people are ordering online. Getting their grub to them could be a way to earn extra cash. Also, the holidays are a busy time, so more people may be willing to pay a little extra to have their takeout or groceries delivered straight to their home. This could mean more opportunities for you.
21. Dog Walking
About 70% of American households have a pet, according to 2022 American Pet Products Association data. And a lot of those pets are dogs in need of walking. This can be one of the most fun ways to make money during winter break: taking a doggo out for a walk and perhaps a game of fetch.
Banking With SoFi
Now that you know how to make money in the winter, let’s look at how you can make that money work for you. When you open an online bank account with SoFi, you don’t have to worry about paying any account fees. Plus, our account comes with super simple tools to help you work towards savings goals when in college.
Is it better to make passive income or active income during the winter?
Earning passive income (say, from a YouTube channel or investments) is great, but it can take a lot of upfront work to get that stream of money flowing. Students who need cash ASAP may want to focus on earning active income during the winter. They can also use their time off to set up a passive income stream that can pay off down the road.
Can I put these winter jobs on a resume?
Yes — students can put a winter job on their resume. They will want to be honest about how long they held the job, but there’s no harm in showing off skills and experience gained even if it was only for a short period of time.
Photo credit: iStock/Alena Ivochkina
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