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Seasonal Temps Prep For The Holiday Rush


Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means the official start of the holiday shopping season. And love it or hate it, it is a fact that tens of thousands of Americans will be at the stores next Friday, looking for hot toys and door-buster deals. Today, we decided to hear from people on the other side of those ringing cash registers - seasonal workers. We reached out on social media to get their stories, like this one from University of Illinois senior Marie Johnson-Dahl.

MARIE JOHNSON-DAHL: I have kind of always liked working during the Christmas season because it's a lot of people buying things for the people that they love. And I think it's really exciting that I'm able to work when I have free time, and I don't feel the pressure of balancing that with schoolwork.

MARTIN: But it's not just teens and college students like Marie who find jobs as Santa's retail helpers. It's also people like Tennessee small business owner Michael Tims. He's looking for his first seasonal job, and he says with all the warehouses in his area, there are plenty of opportunities.

MICHAEL TIMS: They're advertised through the mail, through emails, on billboards. Actually, I got a postcard from FedEx Ground with the information of, you know, what they were hiring and the rates they were paying.

MARTIN: For Chris German, seasonal jobs are his career. During the warm summer months, he is a sailing instructor, so temporary holiday work is his key to getting through the winter.

CHRIS GERMAN: The things I have been called back on, they don't pay quite as well, unfortunately, and much worse hours. But when you're in the lean months, you do what you've got to do.

MARTIN: Despite the drawbacks of holiday jobs, Chris says one of the big benefits is the joy of the season.

GERMAN: And it was really kind of fun to be kind of like one of Santa's elves for a little bit and bringing packages that you assume were for Christmas. It was great to be able to do that. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.