Christmas Listing not receiving applicants

I recently listed a sit in Portland, OR for Christmas and haven’t gotten any applicants. It’s only been a few days but I’m worried I won’t get any and it will be too late to hire someone. Is Christmas in Portland not appealing enough to draw sitters? How long do you think I should wait before I just hire my regular pet sitter?

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This will be my third Christmas on the site. I’ve always been able to secure THS sitters for every sit I’ve posted EXCEPT for holidays. Of course, things always depend individual needs, but I think most people aren’t looking to travel during holidays, especially for so short a trip! I’d hazard to guess that it’s not your location or listing, but your timing and duration that is less appealing.

Your sit looks lovely and easy, and Haru is SO cute! Christmas is still a ways off, so I wouldn’t be concerned about it now. But if you’re worried, you can always try reaching out to local sitters! A Portland sitter could still spend Christmas with their family, and if you reached out to someone looking for more reviews it could be a win-win for you both.

As far as when to contact paid sitters, it depends! How risk adverse are you? How flexible are your travel plans? How popular is your listing? How easy/expensive would it be to hire a last-minute sitter?

I personally am not looking for paid sitters for my Christmas listing yet, but I am going to be contacting some paid sitters this weekend about my Thanksgiving dates. I’m starting this early because:

  • I’m kind of in the middle of nowhere, so there aren’t many suitable sitters within an hour drive. So I need to act faster to book them! You probably won’t have this issue.
  • My Thanksgiving trip is a flight across the country, so it’s pretty inflexible. The distance also makes a reliable and competent sitter much more important to me.

Also just a quick tip since it looks like you’re newer to the site: if you’re above a basic membership you can “boost” your dates so they again appear at the top of searches. And if you only have a basic membership you can accomplish the same thing by simply deleting and re-publishing your dates :slight_smile:

Best of luck!

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Thank you! I figured Christmas would be tough. I looked at other Christmas listings and they seem to have low applicants too. This is my first time so maybe a holiday wasn’t the best time to try it.

A four day sit over Christmas is certainly challenging. For out of towners without local family it will be very expensive and many will already have their Christmas dates sorted by now. This came up in a previous question which you could probably search for but I think some of the suggestions were around offering flexibility with dates, including pictures of your home with festive decoration (and confirm whether the home would be decorated - some people will want that and some won’t) and maybe a nice festive treat (not money but some other little gesture) for your sitter as a sign of appreciation and so they feel welcome. Best of luck - I liked my Halloween stay in Portland a few years back and imagine it’s a great Xmas city too.


Great idea! Thanks!

Professional sitters or kennels in the Portland area tend to fill up quickly for the holidays, so you’d want to take that into consideration. We used to live there and heard from friends who hired professionally that they shouldn’t have waited. They were putting out feelers for friends who might be able to sit, because they couldn’t find good folks to hire.


It’s the duration of your sit that could be the issue. A sitter arrives and just as they are getting settled they need to move on again, so that wouldn’t appeal to us. However, our Christmas petsit this year is at a place near to where our son lives, so there may be someone who wants to visit family in the area, so if it wasn’t for the shorter term you may have found someone with family close by.

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Last year, Xmas was the first sit I posted on THS and I realized immediately that I was too late to find a sitter, so I found other resources. This year I posted my 10-day holiday sit back in AUGUST. I found a sitter after a week or two, and every freaking day I’m terrified they will cancel.

Last year and this year are the first times I’ve traveled in the holidays in decades. I kind of hope it will be my last - not just due to pet care, but overall it’s so stressful.

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Thank you all! I just booked my regular paid sitter. I’m going to delete my dates and wait for a non holiday to try THS.

(Update: Sorry, just noticed that you gave up! I understand why especially if you have a reliable paid sitter, but honestly, I think you’d find someone.)

I’d give it time. I was recently invited to a Portland Christmas sit at a home I’d previously sat in. One big issue for me was that holiday airfare is sky high. I think a lot has changed this year with high travel costs and back to the office pushes. I think you’ll find someone, but you might consider, looking for sitters who may be located drivable distance. Someone in Washington State or another part of Oregon might look at an easy pleasant Portland housesit as a lovely Christmas getaway. Random asks are time consuming, but it might work. Maybe someone in Seattle or Bend or Eugene has favorited your listed? That might be a place to start.


Thanks! Good tips for next time.

@MissyF As someone who is not familiar with the PNW, I was really confused by your headline. I only know St. Johns as a capital city in Canada, and Cape Cod as a well known area of Massachusetts. I doubt it would have made a difference for the Christmas sit, but I would still edit it to avoid confusion.

You do mention the area of Portland in your write up. I think that’s useful as I was then able to find the district in Portland.


Oh, yeah! I see how that could be confusing. I’ll add Portland to the title next time. Thanks!

My Christmas sit was arranged on 30th April. That’s how to get a sitter for your holiday sits.
Ok. It is an international sit, New Zealand, and I knew exactly where we wanted to be but if you want sits during major holidays the sooner you can post the better your success rate.

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Just for future planning on booking sitters for Christmas. We are sitters and our Christmas house sit was booked back in March. The sooner you list, the better.

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I applied for a 3-week Christmas sit in Amsterdam. That was 24 days ago.

No answer yet!!

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We were signed up for a Christmas sit in April too. Always better the more time you can allow for the holidays as @ElsieDownie says :+1:t3:

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@MissyF You don’t need to add the city to your headline. A listing in a search already will display city/state (for US), date range of sit, and the type and number of pets. Your headline is the owner’s marketing tool, so it’s best if it’s eye-catching or promotes the best feature of the sit.

After you next post a listing, search your location as though you are a sitter. Take a look at everything in your listing - the first listing info and the listing itself, including photos. Sitters should do something similar when they first create their profile. Everyone needs to see things from the other side to get the best view.

I’m pleased to know that you made a decision about your pets and are content. However, I’ll go against the trend of responses here and say that, as a sitter, I don’t like to book far in advance. I would say the majority who have said the opposite are also those who sit on more of a full-time basis. I did just book a sit for Christmas and New Years as it caught my eye but I had planned to wait until two months before this time. Members on this site - sitters and owners - are so varied that there’s no one answer that fits all. :slightly_smiling_face:


I see you removed your post - I don’t know what the original dates were, but I know that getting a sitter for X-mas is a challenge. Do you mind constructive feedback? I would change out the photos. I know it’s superficial, but it absolutely makes a difference (although perhaps not much over the holidays, unfortunately). The 4th to last photo of Haru laying on the white fur rug, grinning at the camera would make a great cover photo; he’s so cute in that shot you can’t help but smile. Or if you want to showcase the home, the bedroom shot is a good one. Consider removing about half the photos, & stage the shots you do include. I see you mentioned Portland’s food truck scene, which I would play up since it’s well known for that, & food truck followers will know the names of the popular trucks already & will seek them out. As well, I’d mention Portland’s proximity to the Willamette Valley wine region, which is known across the US, & Mount Hood & it’s skiing. Lastly, more specifics about your streaming TV subscriptions (if any) & the city’s public transit system might help. Best of luck!