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Gifted Gourmet

The Horror of Working on Christmas Day

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I once read that in England, more than 750,000 workers have to work on Christmas Day including a good number of students....

On Christmas Day and New Years Day, one sometimes can get double pay which is a very attractive offer for students or anyone who desires the extra cash.

So, how do you handle these special holidays if you are in the hospitality business?

Inner anger? :angry:

Accustomed to it and therefore not feeling any pain at the prospects? :huh:

Pleased to make extra pay? :hmmm:

Workload easier than usual because of the holiday? Patrons more pleasant? Larger tips? :wink:

Let it all hang out if this is your personal situation: pros and cons alike! :laugh:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I'm working on the eve that's bad too isn't it?

I have never worked on the 25th of Dec or the 1st of January but I thank all those who do.

Whether in coffee houses or restaurants I appreciate your sacrifice.

Did I mention I work retail Christmas eve? :)


slowfood/slowwine

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I don't recall ever having worked on Christmas Day but spent many years working retail on Christmas Eve until 7 PM or so and many more years tending bar on New Year's Eve (typically at catered events - not in a tavern). Ads a general rule I found patrons to be apreciative and they seemed to tip better than usual, a practice I engage in as a general rule but especially on holidays.

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I'm working on the eve that's bad too isn't it?

I feel for you, m'dear. XDD

Personally, I find that working Christmas Eve is worser off than Christmas Day. And Boxing day to be worse than them both. For me particularly, the night of Christmas Eve is the one where the family spends a warming evening together :D It'd be a shame to have to miss out on that.

Dont' forget, it's not just the hospitality industry that works ungodly hours. The corner convenience store by my house opens early, closes late unfailingly almost 365 days a year. Kudos to all you hardworking souls. <3 I'm very glad I"m not of working age yet.


Edited by Ichigo (log)

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Having worked them all I will add my rankings.

Worst to Best

1) NYE - a combination of heightened expectations and "amateur" diners plus a VERY late night for (usually) only average money make this the hands down worst night of those mentioned (Mother's Day is the true "Champion" but that's a whole other thread.

2) NY Day - too many hangovers - enough said, money is average.

3) Christmas Eve - A night you (staff) just want to be over, traditionally the restaurant will stop seating early but the diners will drift in anyway and you never end up getting out when you want to - money is inconsistent.

4) Boxing Day - usually pretty good, diners are in good spirits and while the check average may be down due to the previous day's overindulgence the money is usually good.

5) Christmas Day - I've worked a bunch of them and would happily do so again but my last few gigs have closed on Christmas day. It is usually a big $ "Set Menu" so check average soars, diners are 95% in great moods and the cash flows - also traditionally an early night. I have fond memories of a number of "start at four, home by 10 with $300 in the pocket" Christmas Days.


''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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As a nurse, I either worked christmas or new years. I gave all that up when I had my kids :biggrin: . I can say, that working the holidays sucked and extra pay or no I would have rathered been home with my family.

When I was younger, we had our Christmas meal at a restaurant(my mother was ill and did not want to give up "planning" our christmas dinners). I would say most people were polite, in good spirits and more tolerant than usual. I am sure my Father left a very good tip when paying the bill. We had a nice meal, no preparation, no clean up and good company. Maybe I'll have to revive our dining out tradition :hmmm: .

Sandra

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5) Christmas Day - I've worked a bunch of them and would happily do so again but my last few gigs have closed on Christmas day.  It is usually a big $ "Set Menu" so check average soars, diners are 95% in great moods and the cash flows - also traditionally an early night. I have fond memories of a number of "start at four, home by 10 with $300 in the pocket" Christmas Days.

Thanks for the honest, straightforward report ... and for the final item? very positive report! :wink:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Remember to tip the Chef.... I've worked the past 10 Christmas Eves, Christmas Days, New Year's, etc. It always sucks. Always incredibly busy with drunk patrons ordering stuff like well done whatever, usually salmon, with truffled french fries or anything that you DO NOT have on the menu. Then they get angry because you can't do it and order more drinks which is good for the waiters and the restaurant. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, 3 cooks didn't show up for work. You're by yourself with a garde-manger and a prep guy with 425 reservations. URRRGGGHHHH, I HATE Christmas.

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Let's see, since oh about 1970, I have worked almost every Christmas, New Years Eve and etc. It is just a regular day, except your busy as all get out, I almost used the 'f' word, but my better sense prevailed.

I will be doing a pizza party for Christmas Eve, then hitting midnight mass. Then up early the next day to produce a full buffet pretty much by myself. Then New Year's Eve, I have an open buffet stand up cocktail party for 50 by myself.

Just another day. I don't know that I would know what to do with the day off. I used to get upset that I had to work, but then I realized that hey, it pays the light bill, and now, no biggie.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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My dad worked rotating shifts in a refinery as does my husband. I've worked straight shift, either nights or evenings for 18 years. Working a holiday, even a major one has been a fact of my life since I was a child. We have always found a special time for a meal and 'family' time somewhere near the big day if the really big day was impossible. It's not the DAY, it's the time spent together, enjoying the season and each other. We've always made the most of the time we do have, even if it's a bit untraditional. Our kids were often invited to their friends' families dinners when ours was postponed or early due to work schedules, and we've hosted lots of kids when we've had ours at a non-normal time. The best compliment I think I've ever received was from a friend of our son - probably 16 at the time. He said, "I like having Christmas over here. Ya'll eat together at the table."


Stop Family Violence

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Since I don't celebrate Christmas, I really don't care about having to work the holiday if needed, but there are many times that it really doesn't translate into more money. Lately, at my current restaurant, more business has translated into less money, because we're right by an upscale mall and we're getting a crowd of shoppers who apparantly don't eat out very often. I've been waiting on the sorts of guests who haven't been into our restaurant in 10 years or so, and while they never seem to remember that we don't have sweet tea, they do remember that hot bacon dressing that we took off the menu years and years ago and we no longer serve. So tip percentage, on average, has been lower than normal.

And New Year's Eve is just sheer hell to work. The last time I worked NYE, I made about $120, but it didn't really matter what I made. No amount of money would have been worth it.

I can't wait for the holidays to be over. Bah humbug.

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Always offer to work this day.

Since I don't have children as yet, I offer to give this day to my

co managers. Also give-up New Year's Day, since I'm in recovery for several years, to those who still drink ECT.....................

Did I say too Much!?


I Will Be..................

"The Next Food Network Star!"

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I work two jobs - one quasi retail (Starbucks) and one full blown retail (Best Buy). I'm starting to hate this holiday - and it used to be my favorite!

I think things would be a whole lot better off if people would just relax during the holidays. At Starbucks it's not that bad because we've been properly staffed, so waits haven't been bad at all. We just get people yelling at us because their drink is too hot, not enough whipped cream, not enough foam... whatever. However, because people are usually in and out, we don't really have to deal with the really crabby people for too long.

I was going to work Christmas Day at Starbucks, but I was talked out of it by my manager (my store isn't open - but three in our district are). He said that traditionally you tend to get lots of REALLY crabby people... so he wanted to make sure I'd like to spend my Christmas like that.

As for Best Buy, we have not been properly staffed, so it's been hell. Really. I can't wait for it to be over. We don't have to work Christmas Day, but we're required to work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Yeah, it's been a fun holiday season!

For New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I'm working at Starbucks. I know it will be super busy, but probably mostly happy people since they're going out to party! :biggrin:

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Oh, the memories. On my externship from the CIA, at an exclusive country inn in Devon, we, of course had to work all the holidays. Christmas day, we continually roasted turkeys, as the guests could eat any time they liked. Staff sat down to our dinner in the late afternoon. What we did not know was that the chef had improperly stored the cooked meat above the stove. On Boxing day, the breakfast waitress and myself, the cook took turns, um, racing to the bathroom to be voilently ill. Yep. Good times.

Hated working New Years Eve in SF. I always got stuck with the night service shift in the pastry dept, and by the time we were done, at 2am, there were no buses, and there isn't a hope in hell of getting a cab. Walked home, over Nob Hill every time.

Worked retail/catering, since then, but while I've dealt with every nut job up to and including Christmas Eve (the public can really try your nerves), I haven't had to work the day in a while. Thank goodness!


“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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well, i worked my ass off, my legs and back hurt, and everyone loved everything, even though Icooked too much. But I made mucho $$$$ for my effort. I will cry about working Christmas day all the way to the bank. I think my next trip to Belize is already paid for. Yeehaaa.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I will cry about working Christmas day all the way to the bank.  I think my next trip to Belize is already paid for.  Yeehaaa.

Living well is the best revenge ...

George Herbert, English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 - 1633)

Good for you! Enjoy Belize! You have earned it ...


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I once read that in England, more than 750,000 workers have to work on Christmas Day including a good number of students....

On Christmas Day and New Years Day, one sometimes can get double pay which is a very attractive offer for students or anyone who desires the extra cash.

So, how do you handle these special holidays if you are in the hospitality business?

Inner anger?  :angry:

Accustomed to it and therefore not feeling any pain at the prospects?  :huh:

Pleased to make extra pay? :hmmm:

Workload easier than usual because of the holiday? Patrons more pleasant? Larger tips? :wink:

Let it all hang out if this is your personal situation: pros and cons alike!  :laugh:

Mama Fresser & I ate at the International House of Pancakes (known locally as the IHOP) on Christmas Day, and I was amazed at the number of patrons I saw leaving skimpy tips. One couple to our right tossed a crisp $1 bill on the table as they sauntered out--this on what I guesstimate to be a $12 to $15 tab. Another set of big-spenders did the same a few feet away. It all looked like the opening scene from "Reservoir Dogs": "Everybody throw in a buck..."

Frankly, I'm grateful for people who work on holidays to provide some hospitality for others, and I think they should find such hospitality returned in their tips.


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Frankly, I'm grateful for people who work on holidays to provide some hospitality for others, and I think they should find such hospitality returned in their tips.

I, too, am constantly appalled about the casual way in which holiday staff in restaurants is treated after they come to work on a big holiday, when others are lounging at home enjoying the big day ... now, given that the tips at IHOP are never going to qualify as "sumptuous", even a few dollars extra on a holiday says something about the value we place upon those who serve us ... :rolleyes:


Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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A friend on another forum started a thread about "what are your favourite Christmas things?"

My first thought was, "Hon, this is my twelfth retail Christmas...I don't really have any left."

Thankfully I haven't had to work the Day itself since I was a teenaged security guard, but the month of December is a real kidney stone of a time for any retailer. Profitable, oh yeah (I was on commission most of those years), but hard on the nerves.

You know this is when you're going to make as much as 20-25% of your year's income, so you never want to leave the floor. You go the can when you're on the verge of soiling yourself, not before. You come in early, so you can try to repair the previous days' ravages before opening time. You look at the clock at 9:45 PM and say to yourself, "Dammit, I was supposed to lock the doors 45 minutes ago..." (and the mall security guy is outside the door giving you meaningful looks). Then you eat your lunch on the bus on the way home, if you can stay awake long enough.

Work until 5 or 5:30 on Christmas Eve, stay an extra two-three hours getting down the Christmas sales and displays, do the big family thing on Christmas Day, and then go in early on Boxing Day to get the new sale up. Open the doors, knowing that the first 10 people through the door will want a cash refund that's at least twice the amount of money you have in the store.

For years, I'd be sick as a dog by New Year's at the latest because of the pressure-cooker atmosphere and extended hours at Christmastime. When I went to cooking school I told myself that, however gruelling a gig cooking is, at least I'd never do another retail Christmas.

Where do I cook now? In a retail store. Oy.

My primary role at my day job is running the bakery. Our workload almost doubled, my staff did not. My staffing did not increase at all, in fact. All of our extra product was baked AND WRAPPED AND DECORATED (pet peeve) by myself and my one daytime production person; who were also expected to cover tills and take customer orders while trying to get all this extra work done.

Picture it. Thousands of extra cookies; shortbreads, gingerbread figures, cinnamon stars, sugar cookies, almond cookies; individually cut/decorated/dipped. Hundreds of kilos of sweet brioche turned into pecan-caramel braids, stollen, and filled loaves of different kinds. Some just baked off and sold to customers for their bread puddings. Oh yeah, and brioche puddings for the showcase, and marzipan to go into the stollen, and a few thousand 2" and 4" mince tarts, butter tarts, pecan-ganache tarts, and...well, you get the idea.

Did I forget hundreds of portions of gingerbread for takeaway Christmas dinners?

I'll be working New Year's Eve at both jobs, doing a full shift plus inventory at my day job and then going in to my night job (a fine dining restaurant) where New Year's is the busiest night of the year. Although we don't ordinarily turn tables, we do on New Year's; allowing us to serve about 130 diners. This may not sound like much, but bear in mind we are a small place (70-80 seats max) and we serve a five-course table d' hote. It takes 2 1/2 hours, on the average, to get through the meal.

Fortunately my boss, the chef/owner, comes from a background in industrial engineering. Although we're absolutely hopping, the "flow" is excellent and the plates simply fly out of the kitchen. It's actually easier than a busy normal night for the back of the house, and the frazzled servers do very well indeed out of their tips. And they do treat us well; staff meal is excellent and last year the final plates were celebrated by the kitchen with Veuve Cliquot.


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I have had exactly 1/2 of one Christmas day off in the last 25 years. I don't mind working then as I give someone with kids the day off. I don't even get paid extra as the oilfield doesn't recognize the concept of holidays.


From Dixon, Wyoming

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Frankly, I'm grateful for people who work on holidays to provide some hospitality for others, and I think they should find such hospitality returned in their tips.

I, too, am constantly appalled about the casual way in which holiday staff in restaurants is treated after they come to work on a big holiday, when others are lounging at home enjoying the big day ... now, given that the tips at IHOP are never going to qualify as "sumptuous", even a few dollars extra on a holiday says something about the value we place upon those who serve us ... :rolleyes:

After cooking and serving a dinner for 18 to the family I work for, I went out and had a salad at a local place. I left a $10 tip on a $12 meal and it was worth every penny.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I didn't have to work Christmas (other than the rib roast for the fam, that is), but got to wake up at 4:30 for a brunch shift the day after.

Same deal NYD, 12 hours of brunch for the hungover masses, then home in time to see UM lose to the evil empire in the Rose Bowl on a last second field goal :angry: , followed by another brunch the next day.

This was my first year w/ this schedule, and honestly, I didn't mind. There is something to be said for keeping your regular routine for the holidays, even if everyone else thinks you're nuts.

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I work part time behind the bar. I only do two shifts a week but it is generaly expected that everyone does one of the unpopular shifts (Christmas Eve/Day and new years eve). I did New years eve this year (Was back home for Christmas) - it isn't good, normal money (Minimum wage) and we don't get tips. We do get the occasional drink bought, but most of the regulars had bought the staff a load of drinks at Christmas, which I wasn't there for.

My Parents used to run a pub and I actually used to like working on Christmas day - we opened 12-4 and it was always packed, but a good atmosphere and quite good fun, we'd give everyone a free drink and was usually good for drinks/tips.

New years Day was a bonus for whoever wanted to do it (First choice to those who had done the unpopular ones) - Double time and not too busy.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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