Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays mean spending time with friends and families, eating delicious meals (and way too much), relaxing and laughing, giving and receiving gifts, and, mostly, taking the day off of work. Unless, of course, you are working today and then it means something else.
Generally overlooked and unremembered on holidays are the people who are working. The police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, 911 operators, utility crews, hotel staff, airline pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, AAA call center staff, tow truck operators, and others who service operations that run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year can't take the day off to be with their families and friends. Before I retired, I was one of them.
Their services are necessary, but it doesn't make working on holidays easier; just more understandable. And if they are public employees, working for the government, they're working for their regular rate of pay. No holiday pay, time and a half, or bonus, the most they can look forward to is having an extra day off sometime in the future - more than likely a Tuesday or Wednesday in January or February which the boss will need to approve.
It sucks to work holidays. Missing family events year after year for decades is tougher than you might think and snarky thoughts enter your mind every time you're wished a Merry ___ or Happy ___ because you know your holiday is not just a regular work day, but a work day with less than adequate numbers of people working so you're going to be doing the work of 2 or 3 nurses (bosses don't want piles of unhappy people so they as many as possible the day off). It's bare bones staffing everywhere when it comes to holidays.
The list, however, of those who work on Christmas and other holidays is growing.
More and more businesses find it profitable to be open on holidays (see: Walmart, Thanksgiving 2012). An open gas station for those who didn't fill their tanks ahead of time is appreciated by the driver who needs it, but is there ever a thought for the person who has to work work that day? Ditto the folks who work at a convenience store, restaurant, casino, or other enterprise that remain open when most of us are celebrating. Do we spare a thought for those people?
I'm not saying that everything but vital services should shut down for the holidays. There are many people who don't celebrate the holidays and appreciate an open restaurant or business. My request is only that we remember the people that are working.
So if you stop by the store or gas station, a kindly word to the person working on the holiday you are enjoying acknowledges the sacrifice they have to make. "Thank God you're open" isn't what I'm talking about. You're thanking the boss for making people work on that holiday or appreciating the fact that the door of the building is unlocked and the lights are on.
And if you don't meet someone working, can you please spare a kind thought for those who work on a holiday? Thanks in advance.
PS: Remember there are Kossacks working today. There is likely someone working the Front Page, someone in Tech Support hoping the place won't blow up and ready to fix it if it does. Then there are those unappreciated volunteers - the Rescue Rangers who read everything posted in order to get overlooked diaries into the Community Spotlight. Also the folks who write Top Comments, Overnight News Digest and (does he ever sleep) Jotter who brings us our community stastics every single day.
You might want to send them a Kos Mail to thank them for their selfless service to the community.