Working on the Christmas presence
Christmas Day for some can involves family dinners and present-giving slotted around the work roster, writes BRIAN O'CONNELL
While most of us will be trying to dig out the last few edible sweets from a box of jellies, or patting our post-Christmas dinner paunches, spare a thought for those for whom Christmas Day is just another workday.
From gardaí to phone operators, medical workers to employees in the catering industry, Christmas Day for some often involves family dinners and present-giving slotted around the work roster.
So what’s it like to actually work on Christmas Day? Is the boss more likely to grant a raise? And what about having to share the day with an employee you never really liked? We spoke to some people scheduled to work on Christmas Day.
Farmer in Co Clare
You hope to be winding down by the time Christmas Eve comes along. This year will be a little bit different because of the weather last summer.
Traditionally we’d make silage and you would then fill up the shed twice a week. This year our stock for fodder is a lot lower so we are dispersing it out individually. There will be a bit more work on Christmas Day this year as a result.
At about 8am I’d make my way down to the shed. I’ll have the place filled from the night before and that would save me half an hour. I then take the bales of hay apart, and fork them out. It is like a big workout session in the gym and lasts for about three quarters of an hour. The bad summer means we are at least fitter by the end of the year.
I’d go back in then and have a bit of breakfast and spend time with family and a few friends call up. We always go for a walk around the back of the mountain. We have the dinner at about 3pm or that way. In the evening then I do some more work, which would take another 45 minutes to an hour. Outside of this you keep a close eye on things during the day.
We always try and avoid having cows calving at Christmas, but you do have to keep an eye on stock. I remember one Christmas we had to go out in the middle of dinner as a load of sheep were being chased by dogs.
Working after the dinner is great because I tend to find the dinner too big. It’s great to get a workout for an hour when we’re feeding the animals again in the evening. I actually love working on Christmas morning. I like walking into the shed, because the donkey and the cows were all part of the original Christmas, so it is nice to be with animals on that morning.
General manager of the Malton Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry
In this hotel, and when it was part of the Great Southern Hotels group, it was always a tradition that the hotel would open for Christmas Day and that the general manager would host festivities. My family move into the hotel here with me for Christmas Day. We’ve been doing it for 12 years.
Early on Christmas morning it is quiet around the hotel unless there are lots of kids staying. If so they’ll be cycling their new bikes around from early. At 9.30am or 10am people come down for breakfast and we have a tradition whereby Santa arrives about 12.30pm.