It’s the holiday season! Everyone is decorating trees, digging out their favorite family recipes, and making travel plans. But, while Christmas brings joy, it also comes with stress as something bigger is weighing on people’s minds: buying gifts. And, gifts aren’t cheap.
December offers a brief window in which seasonal businesses thrive. So, this is the ideal time to make extra money with a unique Christmas business to fund your holiday gift giving.
Whether moms, 20-somethings, college students or wives, women tend to get stuck with the bulk of the gift shopping. But, why not turn that experience around and make money with one of these inexpensive holiday business ideas? Here are five business ideas to inspire you this holiday season.
#1 Gift Wrapping Service
There are two kinds of people: People who wrap gifts akin to presents out of a holiday décor magazine and people, like me, whose finished gifts look like they went through a trash compactor. If you’re blessed with the talent of gift wrapping, share it with the rest.
In addition to making Christmas gifts look good, professional gift wrapping also saves people time. And, time is more valuable than ever around Christmas time, when people are traveling and rushing to wrap up work before the holiday break. This is why people are willing to pay $3 to $10 per gift to have their gifts decked out in pretty paper, bows, and ribbons.
To start a gift wrapping business, the initial investment will only consist of some gift wrap, ribbon, and tags. You can then allow customers to choose from your inventory and charge them by the size of the gift. If you’re unsure where to find clients, start with family and friends.
If you have a crafty side and enjoy wrapping gifts, this is one of the easiest services to start up during the holiday season.
#2 Mrs. Claus Events
Everyone gets wrapped up in Santa Claus during Christmas time and you’ll find a Santa in every mall, taking gift requests from children. However, Mrs. Claus is also an enchanting part of the Christmas magic.
With a simple costume, you can appear as Mrs. Claus and charge for events, parties, and children’s storytimes. You can also team up with a Santa and do appearances as a couple.
You can even double your investment and charge more: Find public areas that will let you wrap gifts dressed as Mrs. Claus or sell cookies in costume.
Regardless of what you’re doing, you’re selling the character and Mrs. Claus adds Christmas spirit to any event. Children especially love Mrs. Claus if she’s passing along their Christmas wishes and letters to Santa.
#3 Shopper Service
Every year, my stepfather sends one of the women who works for him to buy gifts for my mom for Christmas. He wants my mother to have gifts that she’ll love, but he’s clueless about her taste. Not to mention, he’s running a business and business equals busy.
He’s not the only one. We live in a society that works in overdrive, even through the holidays. It’s not uncommon to find people hitting the malls on Christmas Eve to purchase last-minute gifts for the next morning. People are so busy that they have to wait until they’re almost out of time.
So, if you understand other people’s taste and always give gifts that people ooh and ahh over, offer shopper services. Professional shoppers can charge $25 to more than $250 to shop by the hour. Capitalize on your gifting skills by using your talent to help busy people find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.
#4 Holiday Card Photography
Do your friends send you holiday photo cards? I get a ton of them at Christmas, especially from friends who recently had babies. Everyone wants to show off their cute kids!
Families often visit big box stores for photos. But, as someone who worked in one of those stores, I can testify to the stress of having holiday photos taken in a chain store.
Imagine waiting in line behind ten other families, listening to the children having meltdowns over dress shoes and the mothers fussing over their hair. When it’s finally your turn, you get rushed through your fifteen-minute appointment, which includes a stock Christmas tree background and some teddy bear props. So, you spend hundreds of dollars on Christmas photos that look like everyone else’s.
Yet, holiday photos are handed down in families forever. They’re hung on walls. They’re stuck in baby books. They’re sent to everyone the family knows. They should be special. So, if you own a nice DSLR camera, you can offer families a better and more personalized option.
Set up a studio in your house or talk to small businesses about renting space to set up backgrounds and props for their customers. Charge by the half hour or the hour and advertise that people won’t have to rush through their sessions. Thrift stores, craft stores, and flea markets are great sources of inexpensive props.
There are even websites, such as SmugMug, which allow you to upload photos to password-protected albums that families can access to purchase prints from you online. You can sell the holiday photos, but, more than that, you can sell the experience of preserving family history in a caring way.
#5 Gift Baskets
Out of all of these ideas, gift baskets have the biggest upfront investment cost as you’ll have to buy baskets and the products with which to fill them. However, on sites like Etsy, gift baskets start at $15 for a small basket with three or four items and can cost over $100 for fuller baskets.
You can create any kind of gift basket. Fill them with non-perishable gourmet food, with wine, glasses and stoppers or with cosmetics and beauty products. Choose a niche and create gorgeous baskets embellished with bows and high-quality tags.
Gift baskets allow you to fulfill the need for thoughtful holiday gifts, while expressing your creative side.
These unique Christmas business ideas serve the needs of customers during the holidays and are inexpensive to start up. If you’re looking for an easy way to make quick cash during the holidays, without a huge investment, choose one of these ideas and get started.