10 Holiday Jobs for Retirees

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- As the holiday shopping season approaches, retailers hire more seasonal employees to keep up with the crowds. It's not just the traditional sales cashier positions that are in demand; possible holiday jobs include everything from Santa Claus impersonator to home holiday decorator or product demonstrator.

Retirees could be looking for part-time work that keeps them occupied or to help make ends meet, and their flexibility during the holidays makes them an asset for retailers.

"Employers are also looking to hire someone who is responsible and reliable -- two attributes an older worker has in their quiver," says Kerry Hannon, author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy ... And Pays the Bills.

The holidays are a perfect opportunity for job-seekers, and "forecasts for holiday hiring are looking stronger than last year," Hannon adds.

Here are 10 holiday jobs Hannon recommends for retirees, arranged generally from maximum earning potential to the lowest.

Santa Claus

Median pay range: From $10 an hour to thousands of dollars per season. 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 player, depending on the mall and location.

Qualifications: It helps if you look the part -- older, plump, a white beard and a jovial laugh. Santas can be of any race, depending on the venue, but they must be male. (There are some openings for Mrs. Santas and Santa's helpers, too.) Having a natural beard is often a prerequisite, but you can dye it if necessary and padding can be tucked in to get that jelly belly. Expect a criminal background check and drug screening.

Job-hunting tips: 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 , Worldwide Photography and Noerr Programs 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. Don't forget your flu shot.

Call center representative

The hours: Many call centers are open extended hours or staffed around the clock. Peak times may not last for a full shift, so you may be slotted for part time or work a split shift.

Median pay range: Median hourly wages of customer service representatives range from less than $9.15 to more than $23.24.