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Localizing small business this holiday season

December 2, 2019

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Retailers aren't the only ones prepping for a busy holiday season. Performers, landscapers that hang holiday lights, and caterers may all experience a busy fourth quarter. Photo of holiday decorations by Marina Khrapova via Unsplash.

CNBC reports that major brands including Target, UPS, and Kohl’s plan to hire almost a quarter million (230,000) seasonal workers this year in preparation for the holiday shopping season. While retail and shipping are two industries that obviously ramp up in Q4, they aren’t the only ones. 

Here’s a look at ways to localize smaller businesses that also cash in on holiday cheer. 

Companies that hang holiday lights

TV shows like The Great Christmas Light Fight and neighborly light competitions mean that many homeowners want an over-the-top light display but some homeowners don’t have the time to do it themselves (or may fear a Clark Griswold-style disaster like in Christmas Vacation). 

Some landscaping companies offer this seasonal service, while other companies just do holiday lights. How much money can you really make in such a compressed time period? According to The Penny Hoarder, one holiday light business reached six figures in year three! Talk to local companies offering this service to find out the going rate, how they market themselves, and more. If any local businesses produce impressive light displays of their own–for instance, I wrote about a coffee roaster in Austin that has an annual light display,–that might be fodder for exploration, too. 

Holiday performers

Professional musicians, carolers, cantors, and actors playing Santa and his elves are very busy during November and December. Where do they perform and what’s the going rate? Shopping malls obviously hire these kinds of performers, but you may find that corporate parties, amusement parks, churches, and other places also hire seasonal performers. See if you can shadow a performer for a day to chronicle how they piece together multiple gigs in a day and what it’s like behind the scenes. Visiting a local Santa school to see how actors train to be Santa might also interest your readers. 


As workplaces, schools, and private homes host holiday parties, the end of the year is a busy time for caterers, bakers, and similar businesses. Are they hiring extra staff to help them meet higher demand? How many cookies or latkes or gallons of apple cider are they preparing on a daily basis? What are the most popular food items this holiday season? 


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