Paycheck the halls: seasonal gigs in NYC that’ll keep you employed through the holidays

Land a nice dept. store job, like Therese Belivet.

Land a nice dept. store job, like Therese Belivet. Via 

The meaning of “holidays” changes with age. As kids, it translates to roughly three weeks of idle fun and icing sugar straight to the bloodstream. As college students, it offers a much-needed reprieve from our studies and an opportunity to visit home. And once we reach adulthood, “holidays” falls into more of an opt-in category, where the choice to take off of work or spend time with family or take a vacation is both entirely up to you and at-your-own-risk.

Family and vacations and family vacations are nice and all, but your rent back in Brooklyn won’t pay itself while you’re gone. And if you freelance, or your income depends solely on a company that shuts down for the holidays, then Thanksgiving through the New Year is a harrowing time for your finances.

The Brokelyn Cares Foundation (not real) understands, and we’re here to help with a guide to finding seasonal jobs that’ll keep you paid and unafraid this holiday season. Apply for these gigs sooner rather than later, so you’re covered for work as soon as things start to quiet down in December. Heck, even if you’re looking for longer-term work you should still consider applying to these positions, because who knows? You might just knock their holiday socks off and earn yourself a permanent gig come springtime.


Get this gig so you don't have to be a century-and-21 years old before you pay off your bills.

Get this gig so you don’t have to be a century-and-21 years old before you pay off your bills.


Department store gigs aren’t the most glamorous job out there, but they’re everywhere during the holidays. And with a little professionalism and the ability to maintain a cool head in what is sure to be an incredibly stressful gift-shopping environment, you’ll do just fine. You’ll probably have a lot of fun, too — or just come out with great horror stories to share at your next holiday party. Either works!

Macy’s, bastion of holiday gift shopping and Christmas-time nostalgia, is hiring for all kinds of seasonal job positions on the floor, from beauty advisors to sales associates in specific designer sections. Something tells us this won’t be anywhere nearly as bad as working at the Macy’s in Herald Square, which is also hiring. At least at this one, you’ll be close enough to the new Alamo Drafthouse to catch a movie when you get off of work.

There’s also Century 21, that wonderful bra shopping (and everything else shopping) haven that just opened nearby at the City Point multiplex in Downtown Brooklyn. C21 has plenty of holiday job openings with descriptions similar to those above: beauty advisors, stylists, cashiers, department managers, etc. Depending on your experience level in hospitality or retail, shoot high! Just because you might only work there for a month or two, doesn’t mean you can’t run a FIRE outerwear section. Also, remember the Alamo (Drafthouse). It’s right next door.


Dis you? It could be. via NYC DOT

Dis you? It could be. via NYC DOT


Dreading the day that it gets too cold to jog outside because you can’t afford a gym membership? Snow shoveling, so long as you’re careful with your back, is one of the best ways to keep your beach body fit under your parka. There are plenty of private walkways and driveways that people will hire you to shovel, but here are a couple of bigger ticket jobs with the city of New York and the Prospect Park Alliance. Either one is sure to keep you physically active, well paid and red-nosed enough to have anyone buy you a sympathy drink at the first bar you walk into.

The Department of Sanitation is hiring emergency snow workers! If you’re able-bodied and willing to whack the ice away from bus stops, crosswalks and fire hydrants after heavy snowfall, you can rake (er, shovel) in $22.50/hour! Pay starts at $15/hour, but you move up to the higher rate once you clock in 40 hours of work, which shouldn’t be hard to do. You can apply in person at one of the DoS’s garages in the city — find your nearest location here — anytime from 7am to 3pm. Monday through Friday. Don’t forget to pair this with free/cheap yoga to stretch out your aches!

The LeFrak Center in Prospect Park needs someone to operate the zamboni, more formally known as an “ice resurfacer,” during their skating season. If selected for the position, you’ll be responsible for maintaing both ice rinks at LeFrak. Coolest. Gig. Ever. C’mon, haven’t you always wanted to be the king or queen of that ice-skating monster truck that glides across the ice, making it silky smooth while everyone watches in awe? I want to, clearly, but I still have to get my driver’s license. Why yes, I am in my mid-twenties, why do you ask? There are also janitorial duties involved in this full-time gig and you’ve gotta be able to lift 80 lbs. Just saying.


Get your hands on these tasty treats through a job with Milk Bar! via @bionicgurrrl on Flickr

Work at Milk Bar, and you can sneak these tasty treats on the regular. via @bionicgurrrl on Flickr


If you can’t eat ’em, join ’em. Cake shops, bakeries and other sugary establishments always need provisionary (get it?) hands come holiday season, what with all of us knocking down the doors for a Thanksgiving pie, a Christmas fruitcake, a New Years…. babka. Anyway, check out some of these sweet gigs. You can always poke your head into local donut shops, cupcake shops and the like to ask whether they have any seasonal openings, too.

Momofuku Milk Bar, voice of the cake pop generation, is hiring for a number of seasonal job positions on Craigslist at their cute lil’ Williamsburg outpost on Metropolitan and Havemeyer. They need a special orders cook, a fulfillment assistant, shipping assistant and baristas who can also run their seasonal markets. Working around tasty sweets all day is a sure-fire way to turn you off of the ones your relatives offer you at Christmas Eve dinner, and you’ll probably get a sweet discount on taking bundles of the stuff home to friends and family. Gifts: done.

The Elsen Sisters’ Four and Twenty Blackbirds is by design a “seasonal” hire: the company always get extraordinarily slammed during Thanksgiving pie time and Christmas pie time, what with everyone calling in to ask whether they deliver to California. If you’ve got an aptitude for butter crusts, a food handlers’ certificate and over 2 years in baking experience, then the Gowanus pie shop wants you! They’re currently hiring pie bakers, morning bakers and prep cooks. If you ride the tide of the holiday rush with some success, you might just stick around with them long-term.




Ho ho hold on to your dignity! via Flickr user Sabrina Io’Ana C.


There aren’t many calls for mall Santas around here, probably because we of Brooklyn are blessed not to have to contend with more than a few shopping malls. Here’s one, though: Kings Plaza mall is looking for Santa’s little helpers to help Kris Kringle (just some guy from Staten Island) run the photo booth. They may also be casting a Santa. If you’re good with having screaming kids drool on your knee and whisper gift requests in your ear that you can’t possibly follow through on, or you just like deceiving innocent people into believing that Santa still exists, then you may as well make money doing it.