What is a Christmas casual?

In Australia, the Christmas holidays are busy time in hospitality and retail, and there are lots of opportunities to work in a casual role. Find out how to access and benefit from working during the holiday season.

12 December 2023

A pile of Christmas presents wrapped in brown paper and red and white string

Christmas is a season of celebrations and gift-giving in Australia. Workers in retail, tourism and hospitality are in high demand, and many businesses temporarily hire extra staff. Working as a ‘Christmas casual’ is a seasonal opportunity to work during this busy festive period. 

Being employed as a ‘casual’ employee means working on an hourly basis without a commitment from your employer of ongoing work. A casual role doesn’t include the benefits that part-time employees have, such as public holiday leave and sick leave – which is why the hourly rate is higher for casual work. 

As an international student, while you have time off from your studies, casual work during the holiday season could be the perfect time to earn some extra money and gain valuable work experience. 

What sort of businesses offer Christmas casual roles? 

Many types of businesses and industries offer casual work opportunities during Christmas. These include retail, hospitality and tourism, as well as seasonal jobs, such as parcel packing and gift wrapping.  

It’s always a good idea to think about what role would be best suited to you. For example, consider whether you are customer-oriented or not, the time of the day you prefer to work and the nature of work you are comfortable doing.  

If you enjoy speaking to customers, a sales assistant role could suit you. If you prefer to work independently, you might appreciate a packing, inventory management or warehousing role. Consider your skills and narrow your search accordingly. 

Where can I find Christmas casual jobs? 

Casual roles can be advertised by employers a few months before December, but you may be able to find some last-minute positions in the lead up to Christmas as it is a very busy time of the year.  

A good way to start your search is to check sites like SEEKIndeed and Jora. If there’s a specific business you want to work for, check its website directly to see if there are any advertised roles.  

It’s also worth walking around your local shopping areas to look for physical posters advertising positions, for example in the shop window. Alternatively, you can even ask managers directly when you visit the shops. 

Lastly, it's good to be aware of some possible working requirements, like a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate, if you hope to work in hospitality, or Working With Children Check, if you plan to work with kids. 

What are the benefits of a Christmas casual job?  

A Christmas casual job is a fantastic way to make some extra money while you are on study break, particularly since higher wages, according to penalty rates, apply during weekends, public holidays and when you work overtime.  

Your resume (CV) will also receive a boost with the added experience you gain through the casual role. Some valuable skills might include customer service, money handling, point of sale experience, problem-solving and teamwork. It’s also a great way to build your personal network by meeting new people outside of your studies. 

How can I make my Christmas casual job more permanent? 

Although Christmas work is seasonal, there is a possibility to turn it into an ongoing role that could continue to support you while you study in Australia.  

Making a great impression will help. Always try your hardest, so your work ethic and skills are recognised. Be professional, reliable and proactive.  

It’s worthwhile letting your manager know that you are interested in continuing to work at the company after the Christmas and summer holiday period ends. This can help them to see that you are eager and dedicated. Plus, they will have seen your strong work ethic firsthand, which may give you a competitive advantage in securing regular employment. 

If the role doesn’t turn into a longer-term position, don’t be disheartened. Be sure to update your resume by including your Christmas casual work experience and noting the skills you gained. You can also ask your manager or supervisor to be a reference for future job applications. 

It is important that you check the rules for working in Australia, especially in relation to the type of visa you have while you are studying here.

Happy job hunting!