Nearly 40 percent of retailers say they plan to ramp up holiday hiring, up from 36 percent last year and 29 percent in 2011, according to CareerBuilder's annual survey.
All in all, some 700,000 jobs may be added this season, says John A. Challenger, CEO of the outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
See also: How to get hired for the holidays
Some positions you may not have considered, but that are in demand at this time of year, include parking lot attendants and florist shop arrangers and deliverers. Or how about playing Santa at the local mall?
Bob Dunn, a 76-year-old retired seafood salesman, has been playing Santa at a mall for four years now. He fills his stocking with $10,000 to $15,000 for the 10-hour-a-day, six-week gig, depending on his contract.
Here's the lowdown on 12 holiday jobs that could be just right for you. Pay ranges are generally from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and vary by employer and where you live.
1. Santa Claus
This is not for the weak-kneed. Children of all ages climb and bounce on you as they murmur their wishes into your ear. Sitting for hours in a bulky red suit can also be demanding. If you're hired by an outside Santa distributor, a firm that places Santas at shopping malls, you might have to travel to the mall assigned to you and spend 40-plus days staying in a nearby motel room equipped with a small fridge and microwave. Contract Santas work typically six weeks, but jobs vary.
Pay range: From $10 to $200 an hour. Contract pay for the 40-day season can range from around $10,000 for a rookie to more than $50,000 for a more experienced Santa, depending on the mall and location.
Qualifications: It helps if you look the part. Santas can be any race but they must be male. Having a natural beard helps. Padding can be tucked in to get that roly-poly belly. Expect a criminal background check and drug screening.
Contact smaller malls, department stores, photo shops and special event party planners directly for openings. Check local classified ads. National staffing services typically provide Santa impersonators to the larger malls. Three of the bigger ones: Cherry Hill Photo Enterprises Inc., Worldwide Photography and Noerr Programs Corp. You'll need to apply online and go for an in-person interview. If they like your look and attitude, you'll slip into costume and makeup for headshots, which are sent to the mall reps for selection. If you're picked, the service will negotiate your contract and send you to Santa school for tips on appropriate behavior and conversations, suggestions for calming kids, and makeup help.