With the countdown to Christmas, many of us are beginning to wind down at work, attending Christmas parties and dreaming about switching on our ‘out of office’ email reply. But of course, the Christmas period doesn't always mean a holiday for everyone. From ambulance drivers and police, to retail and hospitality workers, many people will forego time with family to work over Christmas – whether they like it or not. Here are just some of the jobs you’ll be glad not to have over the Christmas break.
If you’ve worked in retail at any point in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll have done a dreaded Christmas shift. Whether it’s during the heart of present shopping season, or the height of the sales from Boxing Day onwards, this job is not for the faint hearted. The long hours, the crowds, and the repetitive Christmas songs are surely enough to drain even the most festive folk.
Being a shopping centre Santa might seem like a relatively easy job: put a kid on your lap, ask them what they want for Christmas, pose for a quick photo, and send them on their merry way. But any Santa who’s done even one season at the shops will tell you the job takes dedication. After all, being a Santa isn’t all jolly. Can you even imagine fake smiling all day long beneath a scratchy fake beard, enduring hordes of crying kids day in, day out? I didn’t think so.
Oh the total mental, emotional, and physical labour that is hospitality work. Chuck the month of December into that mix, and it becomes an extra-brutal slog. First off, the no-brainer: It’s going to be BUSY. Everyone is going out, having work parties, and meeting friends and family, so it is inevitable that you’ll be run off your feet. Not to mention having to match all of the customer’s holiday cheer, all through your 10-hour shift.
Whilst most people think of the holiday season spent with family and loved ones, our police are often instead working around the clock. Given everything that comes with the silly season, like the extra flow of booze, additional financial stress, and tense family quarrels, it’s only natural to see a spike in incidents requiring police intervention. And let’s not forget the trusty roadside police who’ll also be on the lookout for drink drivers, instead of flipping steaks on the ol’ BBQ.
Speaking of spike in incidents, it’s not only the police that are out in force during the holidays. Our ever vigilant paramedics will also be on hand, treating and transporting those in need; from serious injuries, right down to silly mishaps, like getting hit in the face with the new drone you got as a gift, or slicing your finger whilst trying to cut the Christmas roast. Forget about Santa, these people are the real heroes of Christmas.
Christmas movies tend to always have a rushed airport scene, focused on the main character trying to get home for Christmas. But what we don’t see are the thousands of workers that make the airports and airplanes run, even during Christmas day. From the baggage handlers and security checkers, to the flight attendants and pilots, remember to spare a thought for these workers before you whinge about your slightly delayed flight and uncomfortable seats.
Hurried travellers don’t just make life difficult at airports, they also take to the roads, creating additional stressors for taxi and Uber drivers, who are already under considerable strain around this time of the year. With people trying to get to places faster around the holidays, often passengers become a little more demanding on their drivers, like being overbearing about directions, or being frustrated about the traffic that can’t be helped.
You would think that the postman would feel like the Father Christmas himself over Christmas. Like they might as well be dressed in red and white with a sack on their shoulders, bringing presents to your door. But often as people rush to make sure loved ones receive their holiday presents on time, a lot of this pressure and hard work falls down to the postman. And unlike Santa, this job doesn’t come with a magical sleigh.