5 Careers That Thrive On The Holiday Season

By Amy Bell | October 29, 2009 AAA
5 Careers That Thrive On The Holiday Season

While most of us look forward to some much-needed rest and relaxation over the holidays, some ambitious professionals live to work during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year's.

So, are these people officially insane are they just gluttons for punishment? Believe it or not, the answer is neither. It turns out that certain businesses bring in the most moolah during the holiday months. Here are five careers that simply love the holidays:

1. Dentists
There's no question that dentists earn a healthy salary year-round. In 2007, the average net income for an independent private dental practitioner who owned all or part of their practice was $205,960 for a general practitioner and around $353,280 for a specialist, according to the 2008 Survey of Dental Practice. (Don't pay for a plan that won't cover your pearly whites when you need it to. Check out Should You Bite On Dental Insurance?)

However, while they'd probably never admit it, Halloween is undoubtedly a dentist's favorite time of year. About 40 million trick-or-treaters celebrate Halloween each year, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That means 40 million sets of teeth are exposed to the decaying, damaging effects of countless sugar-filled candy bars, chewy-gooey bubble gum, destructive jaw breakers and an array of other sweet treats.

For years, dentists have reported an overwhelming increase in cavities, broken, chipped and cracked teeth and innumerable other dental issues in the weeks and months following Halloween.

2. Caterers
What would Thanksgiving or Christmas Day be without a glorious spread complete with a tender turkey, delectable dressing, succulent sweet potato casserole and plenty of mouth-watering desserts? Of course, many holiday hosts simply don't have the time to create such a massive meal. That's exactly why thousands of people turn to their local caterer to save the day.

The U.S. catering business brings in a whopping $20 billion each year, according to Technomic, a food industry research firm. Of course, a heaping helping of that $20 billion comes in during the holidays. Most caterers see a huge jump in business during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. (Before buying your turkey and trimmings, plan and budget to keep costs under control with the tips in Keep Thanksgiving Costs From Taking A Fowl Turn.)

Caterers charge anywhere from $15 to $40 a head plus a delivery cost for a Thanksgiving meal. Some extremely successful businesses cater as many as 800 meals on Thanksgiving Day. Talk about some serious cash! No wonder caterers start salivating at the mere suggestion of the holiday season.

A caterer's telephone generally starts ringing off the hook with Thanksgiving and Christmas meal requests as early as June. Many catering companies say they start preparing for holiday meals six months before Thanksgiving Day. Bon appétit!

3. Snow Plow Drivers
For many parts of the country, November and December doesn't just mean turkey dinners and Christmas trees - it also means snow boots and ice scrapers. Of course, no one adores the snowy season more than the winter-loving snow plow driver. It's not unusual for snow plow operators to earn $1,000 a day or more when the snowflakes start falling.

Of course, it all comes down to where that snow plow operator lives. Obviously, if a snow plow driver were to set up shop in Georgia or Florida, he probably wouldn't earn a dime during the winter season. However, plow operators in the nation's snowiest towns, like Blue Canyon, California, Marquette, Michigan and Syracuse, New York, make a killing each holiday season. I bet you can guess who's dreaming of a White Christmas this year.

4. Gym Owners and Personal Trainers
Many of us spend three months stuffing ourselves silly with Halloween candy, turkey and dressing, Christmas cookies and New Year's Eve cocktails. That's why, come January, many of us are ready to begin the battle the bulge.

In 2009, the second most popular New Year's resolution among adults was to lose weight, according to a FranklinCovey Products survey. Of course, no one could be happier about this highly popular New Year's resolution than personal trainers and gym owners.

Thanks to all the holly-jolly over-indulgence, the average American gains one to ten pounds over the holiday season. Consequently, January is the single biggest month for new membership enrollment at health clubs, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Personal trainers also benefit from these plump post-holiday exercisers, many of whom are resolved to squeeze back into their itty-bitty bikini before their annual spring beach trip. In other words, fitness gurus are rolling in the dough post-New Year's.

5. Debt Counselors
Last year, U.S. consumers spent a total of $28.5 billion on Thanksgiving and another $460 billion on Christmas expenses, according to IBISWorld. Some studies show that the average American family spends $1,500 or more each holiday season.

After taking part in this carefree, holiday spirit-induced spending spree, many of us wake up in January with serious debt hangover. Last year, 31% of credit card users were still working to pay off their holiday debt in March or later, while 13% were still carrying Christmas debt six months after the Yuletide season.

It's no surprise that the number one New Year's resolution among adults in 2009 was to get out of debt or save money, according to the FranklinCovey Products survey. (Find out how to avoid this festivity hangover in Keep Holiday Debt From Snowballing.)

No wonder debt counselors seem to be immune to post-holiday depression. Credit counselors typically see a 40% or higher customer increase in January, according to estimates from one consumer credit association.

The Bottom Line
So, while you're kicking back and taking a break over the holidays, don't forget about these festive workers who whistle while they work from Halloween all the way to New Year's Day. And if you're looking to earn some extra cash this holiday season, you may want to check with your dentist's office, a caterer, the local snow plow business, the fitness center or even a debt counseling company.

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