I Could So Be An Elf!

danny-z3

Finding seasonal employment at the winter holidays

I really try to avoid the malls the day after Thanksgiving – known as Black Friday – leaving them to the aggressive deal hunters out there. This year, however, I was suckered into going by my wife. She bribed me with continual infusions of Starbucks coffee, promising me even more delights were just around the next corner of the mall. As I wandered in search of more caffeine, I looked to see who was hiring

The typical retail jobs were there; and believe it or not, even in mid-December it’s not too late to get one. Despite the economy, the retail sector still thrives every holiday season. We might have to be smarter about what we buy, but we still buy—right?
Here are some tidbits on seasonal winter jobs and how to get one.

First, these are some of the most flexible jobs, as well as the jobs requiring the most flexibility from an employee. Most seasonal employment is listed as part-time but in fact, full-time hours are available to the employees wanting to work needed shifts. These jobs are perfect for college students, teachers, and others that might have a hiatus during the winter holidays. Most retail employers want people that will be able to work a flexible shift until mid- to late-January. They need lots of employees because we all have to return that blinking Rudolph sweater we get from grandma every year (or is that just me?). My advice is to be honest with yourself and the employers about your availability.

I spoke with a couple of employers while browsing the malls and they seemed glad to talk to me to avoid the soccer moms and their rants about the lack of Winter Princess Barbie in the blue dress (not the red dress or the green dress, mind you, the blue dress). They still need people for interesting jobs. The overnight stocker and floor design associate jobs intrigued me. Imagine working overnight to restock new goods for the next day’s rush without crowds taking the merchandise right out of your hands! The floor design people were like stockers that made things pretty. Dressing mannequins, setting up displays, tearing down displays, setting out promotions…all sounded fun!
But retail is retail, and if you have a holiday spirit like me (I own at least seven holiday ties, five boxes of Christmas décor, and break out the seasonal music CDs right around Halloween), then you might like the idea of something a bit more creative.

There are special souls in this world that enjoy the frenetic nature of the malls, the rush of the crowds, the cinnamon and pine-scented air, the blinking displays, and the screaming children steadfastly dragged along by their mentally-elsewhere father’s pant legs (if UT is playing anyone, Dad is physically at Macy’s but in the BCS otherwise). If you’re one of these people, why not consider a position as one of Santa’s helpers? Did you know that greeters, photographers, child wranglers, and parent appeasers make $8.00 – $10.00 an hour to spread holiday cheer? This position lasts until mid-January because once New Year’s Day hits, Santa has to be back at the North Pole in preparation for next year’s Wii requests (please add me to the list, Santa!). For 3-5 weeks of part-time work, that’s an extra $300-500 of fun money for your efforts. Not bad.

Our Houston efforts to bring the North down South with snow villages, ice rinks, and winter festivals offer opportunities for seasonal employment. The Ice Rink at Discovery Green needed over 40 employees to work the ice and concessions. What a great way to enjoy some winter cheer outdoors while making extra money. Now, if they need someone to demonstrate how to make one of those awkward I-don’t-know-how-to-ice-skate splits and fall on his patookus, I’m in.

Be honest about the time you have to spend on seasonal employment and your dedication to the job. These are opportunities requiring lots of energy! So, if you live to share the joy of the season and are flexible with your time, check out one of these jobs at Workforce Solutions. Once you get the job, drop me a line. I’d love to hear about your seasonal work experience – and heck, if there’s coffee nearby, I might drop by during my next adventure into the malls!

Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.

6 Responses to “I Could So Be An Elf!”


  1. 1 Diana Cappetti December 24, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Good information with a sprinkling of humor. Well done!

  2. 2 Irma Diaz Gonzalez December 18, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Loved your write-up and writing style, especially in light of recent gloomy articles that indicate that, even in the retail industry, there are very few job openings.

    Feliz Navidad!

  3. 3 Cheryl Sandifer December 17, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    I love your writing style. You were informative without being “too know it all.” Other seasonal work after the holidays may be Christmas tree recyclers. Ok, maybe not, but before and after how about the guys in the “cherry pickers” that put up the really high light.

  4. 4 Carin Shuford December 17, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    This is very well written, fun to read, and has some great information. Any blog that contains the word “patookus” is an instant winner in my book.

  5. 5 Michelle Tepolt December 17, 2008 at 12:41 am

    The power of Starbuck’s coffee, it is an awesome thing. I believe it induces the holiday spirit that becomes so contagious at this time of the year. Seasonal jobs are out there, and if you have a passion for serving others it can be a great way to get some quick holiday cash. Danny, this information is awesome and so perfect for this time of the year.
    P.S. I will put in a good word for you with Santa; I can tell from this Blog you have been very good.

  6. 6 Betty Drake December 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I think it’s probably the best blog I’ve ever read!


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