Can't Get a Babysitter for December 10? Here's Why

A new survey has uncovered some interesting data about babysitters and pet-sitters around the holidays.
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On December 10, my husband and I are hosting a holiday party. And so is everyone else, or so it seems, because even though I started looking weeks ago, I cannot find a babysitter who is free that night.

According to the new Holiday Hiring Report from Care.com, Saturday, December 10 is actually the night when babysitters are most in-demand this holiday season. In fact, the weekend two weeks before Christmas is the most common weekend of the year for parents to hire a babysitter in order to attend a party.

It's no surprise that New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are also very popular nights for parents to need sitters. Maybe I should start looking for a sitter now for those dates...

In the meantime, consider more interesting findings from the Care.com survey, about how much hiring holiday help costs, on average:

Holiday Babysitter: $14.40

New Year's Eve Babysitter: $14.34 (10% increase from last year)

Holiday Dog Sitter: $17.45

Holiday Cat Sitter: $17.34

Shelling out $14.40 per hour for a sitter may sound like a lot, but according to the survey, babysitters cost less during the holiday season than during the rest of the year. While the national average hourly rate for a babysitter in December is $14.40, it's $15.05 throughout the rest of the year. "The demand for babysitters isn't as high in December as the rest of the year since many families are on holiday," explains Jacalyn Lee, Care.com's public relations director.

And consider that hiring a pet sitter actually costs more than a babysitter! Joyce Hodel, data scientist at Care.com, explained to Parents.com, "Pet sitters often charge a flat day rate of care that's equivalent to a few hours of actively feeding, walking, and cleaning up after the pet, while babysitters are paid for each hour the parents are away and are expected to actively engage with the child the entire time. In addition, pet sitters—particularly dog sitters—may be asked to spend the night with the pet, resulting in a higher rate as well. That means pet sitters on Care.com may earn more per hour than babysitters, but they are generally paid less per day."

No matter what your babysitting and/or pet sitting needs will be this holiday season, you certainly aren't alone if you haven't budgeted for the potential added expense. According to the survey, nearly 1 in 3 people don't budget for holiday expenses, while 48 percent of those who do say they go over budget. I'm probably in that boat; this time of year, I always feel I should give helpers just a little more money so they can have a happier holiday. In fact, 81 percent of respondents to the Care.com survey say they plan to spend money on holiday tipping. Check out this helpful guide for tips on, well, tipping at the holidays.

And if you need a sitter for December 10, you'd better stop what you are doing now, and start looking!

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.

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