Christmas is a very long-lasting event. It starts early and continues for many days. It is not surprising that Christmas is the biggest commercial event of the entire year. Many retailers make over 40% of their profits during Christmas. The Christmas economy is also very active, with everything from Santas working short-term contracts up to package holidays to Lapland.
For some people, Christmas is a big deal. But for others, it’s a distant memory because they are stuck at work. In the past decade, the number of people who work over Christmas has increased dramatically. In 2010, 172,000 workers worked on Christmas Day, a 78% rise from 2004.
Christmas at Work
Companies are spending more on Christmas celebrations than ever. Last year, almost seven in ten employers held Christmas parties. Over 80% of them decorated their offices. It’s not a bad idea, but for those of you who are working during the holidays, it may seem like a cruel joke.
Irony is a powerful tool. Employees will stare at tacky Christmas decorations for months, trying to get the right spirit. The radio will play the same Christmas songs, which get more and more unbearable every time. The annual Christmas party will include kissing on the toilets, bad dances, and an excessive amount of Merlot. (Watch The Office Christmas Special for a painful example). All the while, the employees are aware that Christmas is never going to happen because of work.
Reminder: Put up the Christmas tree. Sergey Peterman/Shutterstock
By now, we should have a good idea of the current trend. In an age of work-obsession, holidays, weekends and non-productive leisure are becoming increasingly unfashionable. A relatively new phenomenon is the five-day week with two days of uninterrupted rest. is in danger of extinction, despite the fact that it only became the norm in 1940. Work, sleep, and leisure were once distinct activities that were organised into blocks. They have now dissipated and are replaced by a continuous stream of time that is invaded in different ways.
If we take these changes seriously, the supposedly fun celebrations at work can have a bitter taste. If you have to be at work the following day, the Friday drinks will not be as appealing.
It is not surprising that Christmas is being squeezed out. It’s hard to say how many of us are going to be working Christmas. We have to include those who work secretly from home or sneakily visit the office to those who work officially.
These merry symbols could be viewed as an insult by those who will, in some way, be working during Christmas. They turn December into a month full of fun. They are expected to join in with the celebrations, to add to the atmosphere and to fantasise over the holiday that is never coming.
Fun that is compulsory
This isn’t meant to be an insult but rather a way of making them bored with Christmas. Remember the tale about Andrew Park (also known as Mr Christmas), who decided to celebrate Christmas each day with a Christmas tree decorated and gifts waiting for him every morning? Most people would find such repetitions boring. This would be monotonous, exhausting, and depressing.
Andrew Park is all of us in December. We get a small piece of Christmas every day, not much, but enough to make us sick of it by the time December arrives.
It was not always this way. It was once customary to fast until Christmas Day and then feast continuously for 12 days before fasting again. We’ve extended the celebration to cover most of December. This makes it a bit tiring.
Here’s the good news. If we miss it, we won’t be too affected. Possibly, without being too conspiracy-minded, these Christmas celebrations at work were designed to achieve this goal. Could the increased amount of money that companies spend on Christmas celebrations be related to the increase in people working during Christmas? It doesn’t matter if this is true; a month of mandatory fun isn’t a good way to prepare yourself for upcoming holidays. This is a great way to get us to accept the fact that we will never be able to take a real holiday.