For many people, Christmas Day is a time to take a break, spend some quality time with family and relax for a while.
But not everybody is able to put a pen stroke through Dec. 25 on their calendar as an automatic day off. There are those who keep our emergency services running: the staff at our hospitals who monitor those too sick to be at home, firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officials who stand at the ready when human emergencies and crises call them to action. There are even those convenience store employees who serve us when we find ourselves missing critical grocery items for the day’s special meal, or, for the procrastinators among us, those very-last-minute gift ideas.
To all of these people, we say thank you in hopes that your day of rest and time with family will come shortly.
Sure there are financial benefits to working the holiday, as most people toiling on Dec. 25 are paid time-and-a-half, double time or more. The aforementioned workers may find themselves doing their jobs at a quieter pace than usual, but no one banks on that happening, given that eating and otherwise consuming to excess is more common on this day than others.
In today’s issue of the Gazette, we hear from an emergency room physician for whom working Christmas is seldom fun. He’s seen some sad situations play out having been called out to try fixing them, and not all of them have been fixable.
The spirit of the season may be hard to find in an emergency ward, but that spirit is not absent from such workplaces. Many employees and professionals work together and trade shifts, so people with younger families have the opportunity to spend precious moments at Christmas with their kids and other loved ones.
It’s true, not everyone sees this part of the year as a magical time where wishes come true and stress is shuffled to the back of the mind. For some, it’s a time to simply manage and get through until structure returns. Many workplaces, especially retailers, are at their busiest in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, while others – such as community newspaper operations – face deadline schedules altered due to the holidays.
The hope is that we all, at some point through this season, get a chance to kick back, reflect on the year, turn our focus inward or outward as the case requires and make the holidays special in our own way.