Christmas is just around the corner. For many of us, that might mean scurrying to cross the last item off the shopping list, preparing menus for the big holiday meal, wrapping presents to put under the tree or sewing up travel plans to spend Christmas with far-away loved ones.
But not everyone will have the luxury of spending Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day at home by the tree with their loved ones. While others are attending religious services and get-togethers and enjoying other traditional holiday activities, some will be doing what many of us can’t imagine — working through the holiday.
As we count down the days to Christmas, and a vacation day or two, it’s easy to forget that many professions require nontraditional hours, including nights, weekends and holidays. For some, it’s simply the call of duty. Military personnel serve across the U.S. and from Afghanistan to Germany and South Korea. Many will be on duty on Christmas, working to protect America’s interests.
At home, police officers, firefighters and other first responders are on call or patrolling around the clock to make sure the rest of us are safe. And should the need arise, doctors and nurses are on hand and ready at the nearest hospital.
But it’s not just emergency service and medical professionals who end up working through Christmas. Many grocery stores, gift shops and department stores stay open so last-minute shoppers are able to get what they need. Many restaurants continue serving hot meals and gas stations — especially along highways and interstates — extend their hours so those on the road can keep their tanks full.
Those working through the holiday extend beyond the service industry. Retirement homes and other live-in facilities also have staff working around the clock — be it an on-staff nurse or an in-house chef —who are seeing to the needs of their residents.
Very rarely will you hear these folks complain. In many instances they work these less-than-desirable hours so someone else doesn’t have to. So while you’re sitting down to take in a delicious Christmas dinner or gathering around the tree to exchange gifts with family, keep in mind those who have sacrificed their holiday to help keep the rest of us safe and happy.