ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — With Thanksgiving around the corner, many are getting ready to celebrate with family and friends. Some are looking to make a buck.
For those who can’t afford to take the holiday off, there are Thanksgiving Day employment opportunities available for a variety of skill sets, and in some cases, an affinity for the unusual.
Job-seekers could spend Thanksgiving Day doing a variety of odd jobs in the Maryland area — just take a look at Craigslist, which has six sites in Maryland and one in Washington, D.C.
An advertiser from Parkton, Maryland, was looking for “an experienced oyster shucker to work a two-hour shift for a private party … on Thanksgiving Day.”
Another in outer Baltimore seeks a bodyguard for a family gathering. “Candidates are required to join in,” the add reads, “but remain on guard.”
Calling for “an experienced host with no plans for Thanksgiving,” a Craigslist advertisement in Silver Spring seeks “one mature individual to help me host Thanksgiving for 40.” Duties listed include running errands, cooking and cleaning dishes.
For machine-savvy Marylanders, an advertiser in Hunt Valley is seeking millwrights to help install conveyor systems on three days in late November, including Thanksgiving.
A talent call is out for artists willing to perform at a Thanksgiving Day open mic and potluck in Baltimore,. Though the performers won’t be paid, the event is free, according to the Craigslist ad.
A family in Germantown is looking for an experienced babysitter, Spanish- or English-speaking, to care for an infant on the evening of Thanksgiving. The babysitter may get to be included in the celebration, the ad says.
Other gigs posted on Craigslist for Thanksgiving Day include requests for pet sitters, holiday decorators and performers for a holiday market.
But these requests aren’t so strange considering most people don’t want to work on Thanksgiving and most businesses are closed, said Peter Morici, professor at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and an expert on economic policy and international economics.
“There aren’t a lot of people available on Thanksgiving,” he said. “If you need a service provided, it allows space for the unemployed to jump in and provide it.”
These opportunities aren’t only for the unemployed either, he added. Anyone who doesn’t have Thanksgiving plans and needs some extra cash may decide to spend the day making a profit, he said.
Some, like Lori Queen, 52, a chef from Washington, D.C., like to use the day helping others.
Queen has been running her catering service, Chef Queen for Hire, for 26 years and has been advertising on Craigslist for two.
At this time of year she cooks full-blown Thanksgiving meals to deliver to houses in the Washington metro area, including parts of Virginia and Maryland. Throughout the year, she travels to cook in private homes, churches and at various events, but doesn’t often do that on Thanksgiving Day.
“I want to see how many people I can help this year,” she said. “I’ve had people come to me and say they didn’t even have anything to eat this Thanksgiving. This year’s special because I get to one-on-one help a couple people a little bit more than I would just making food and dropping it off.”
This Thanksgiving, she plans to cook for a man in his home in Washington who is handicapped and in a wheelchair. Afterwards, she’ll move on to the home of another District man suffering from Parkinson’s disease to cook for him there. Then she’ll celebrate the holiday with her family.
“This is the blessing, I get to stop and sit down and enjoy the holiday,” she said. “I still get to do what I do.”
On Wednesday, Queen was cooking at the home of her cousin Edith Harrison, 96, and Edith’s husband, Eddie Harrison, 95. The couple married earlier this year, after being companions for 10 years. Their marriage made headlines due to concerns about Edith’s mental fitness.
Queen came to cook them a Thanksgiving-style meal about a week early because, for them, “every day is Thanksgiving,” she said.
Queen, who said she is part Native American, said she holds tight to the spirit of the holiday and that it’s important to give thanks for everything you have, “even if it’s a crumb, a piece of bread, or a candy bar,” she said.
Queen is accepting orders for her homemade Thanksgiving meals until Nov. 22 and can be contacted at email@example.com.
Her $65 packages include a choice of turkey or ham, three sides, a dozen rolls or cornbread muffins and one cake or pie. She makes everything herself and delivers the meals, with the help of delivery drivers, the day before Thanksgiving. Most years she’ll make over 20 orders and can easily finish a dozen in three to four hours, she said.
“I do it for the art of cooking,” she said. “This is my blessing. It is my passion as well.”