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Debates
Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:19 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-21 22:23:01

I was curious if you felt the childless employees should trade a shift with someone who has kids under the age of 12? Doctors, nurses, cops, firemen etc....all end up being put on the schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

My bf voluntary takes a shift so that people with young children can spend time with them on Christmas Day. People aren't expected to work on their off days, but the majority of people trade shifts. Some people don't trade shifts and it isn't mandatory to do so.
I was curious if you feel that people with kids should get " first pick" for Christmas Day or Thanksgiving off?


I personally feel that people should trade off. I understand that people all have family and friends, but Christmas really is a magical time for children. As much as I love being an adult, I can't recreate the amazing magical Christmas feeling that I had as a child. There are only so many Christmases for children, so we should all work together to give them that magical moment. I feel that if a kid is 0-2 then a trade isn't necessary(unless she has siblings) but from 3-12, I think it is important for the kids to be with their family.

70 Replies to Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?

re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12956, member since Wed Mar 17, 2004
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:30 PM
Nah. Everyone gets an equal opportunity. A desire to spend Christmas with one's loved ones isn't any less valid because one doesn't have kids.

It's nice if a person who doesn't have big plans is willing to trade with someone who does (including time with children) but kids don't give you the monopoly on meaningful traditions. I wouldn't work anywhere who gave people with kids different treatment, preferential or otherwise. Your employer should NEVER use your personal life as a reason for work-based decisions unless it is shown to affect your ability to do your job (like showing up late, taking too many personal days, or whatever.)

Everyone should get the same shot at holidays. Any trading absolutely has to be done on an informal level.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:35 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-21 22:39:49
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-21 22:41:12
^ Yes, everything is done at the informal level. Most times parents don't even ask, but people offer to just trade with them.

Yes, the desire to spend time with others doesn't matter if one has kid, but people aren't trading for the adults to see their kids. People are doing it for the children. Adults I could care less about, but I do feel that we should show favor to young children because they only get a few Christmas years before the whole " magical" moment of it goes away.

I am a tiny bit upset that my bf trades, but I am an adult who understands people need to work. I feel like young children logically understand work, but it is a lot more heartbreaking to them if their daddy or mommy aren't there. Kids grow up way too fast, and it's only 1 day out of the year. Christmas is just another day for me to spend with my family and friends...when I was a kid, I would wait ALL YEAR LONG for this one day. It wasn't just another day for me as a kid, it was THE day.
I put out cookies for Santa, stayed up watching for him etc
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11250, member since Tue Feb 26, 2002
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:35 PM
First in, best dressed. If I get my request for Christmas leave in before someone with children, that's their problem, not mine.

I don't think there should be any obligation for people without children to trade shifts with people who do have children on holidays, and in fact I would be very annoyed if someone with children asked me to trade a shift with them. My time, my family, and my loved ones are just as valuable as theirs.

If there were extenuating circumstances (Family visiting from overseas, dying kid's last Christmas, etc), then I would. But if you've dilly dallied and not put in your leave request, that's on you, not me.

Erin.
::righteous babe::
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Sumayah Comments: 6945, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:39 PM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2013-11-21 23:40:28
Nope. If someone volunteers to trade shifts put of the goodness of their heart, that's fine. I'm childless by choice. So basically you're saying that because we decided not to pursue the standard life choice to procreate, I should forever be punished by having to work all holidays so parents can be off? Hell no.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas? (karma: 1)
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:46 PM
Nope. One of my coworkers tried to pull that for Thanksgiving. I work for a small, family owned business where most of the staff (myself included) are students. About half are from our town, the rest of us live anywhere from 2-5 hours away. We have one coworker (new) who is older and has children. We're closed Thanksgiving day, and she tried to get Friday and Saturday off too. Since all of us who live further away had already been given priority (to get early shifts Wednesday, then Friday and Saturday off), she didn't get her request. It's frustrating, because the rest of us have families too. Mine isn't any less important than hers...I still have parents, siblings, nieces/nephew, aunts, uncles, etc.

This may sound hypocritical coming from my Black Friday post, but I swear I'm consistent! My problem there was expecting everyone to work a day that was traditionally an off day, due to the bumping up of Black Friday. My feeling is that if your job doesn't include holidays off, that REALLY sucks, but it's an unfortunate necessity for some professions (hospital and police, for instance). If someone offers to swap shifts out of the good of their hearts, I think that's wonderful. It shouldn't be expected though.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:54 PM
Edited by majere (186163) on 2013-11-21 23:55:20
No. Even if someone doesn't have kids, it doesn't mean they don't have family they want to spend time with. It's nice that people are willing to do that, but I wouldn't. If I have a day off, I'm having that day off. I would not trade if I had Christmas off (and other people had to work it), it's a holy day of obligation, I will want to attend Mass (my churches midnight Mass is in Spanish).
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Sumayah Comments: 6945, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 01:10 AM
Here's my issue. Basically, you're invalidating non-parents. Their time is not as important as a parent, because think of the children.

Let's implement your idea for a moment. For the sake of argument, I work with Jane, John, Mary, Susan, Dave, Steve, and Emma.

I am married and childless by choice.

Jane has two teenagers and a 10 year old.

John's wife is pregnant with their first child, due in February, after IVF treatments due his low sperms count.

Mary is single and lives alone, her family lives out of state.

Susan lives with her boyfriend and just suffered a miscarriage last month.

Dave has 1 year old twins.

Steve is 17 and lives at home with his parents and siblings.

Emma is 12 weeks pregnant, and is announcing her pregnancy to everyone at the holiday dinner.

Who should have to work? YYD, how would you divvy up the work load. Based on those with children getting off, Jane and Dave are the only straight forward cases. What about Susan? Would you make her work and rub it in her face that she doesn't have children? What about John? Technically, his kid isn't born yet - does he qualify as childless? Same for Emma. What about Mary? She's completely alone. Do you want to rub it in her face that she has no one to celebrate with so she may as well work? What if she was finally able to buy a plane ticket and was planning on flying home? Steve is still a kid. How exactly do you decide who's time is worth more as a parent/non parent when it's not so cut and dry?
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas? (karma: 3)
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11592, member since Thu Dec 16, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 01:16 AM
No one should feel obligated to switch. But personally, I always tried to accommodate coworkers who had family obligations. It's good karma.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 02:31 AM
Luckily our entire office shuts down for Christmas so it isn't an issue. Christmas is also a Bank Holiday here and given that I'm not a doctor or anyone important, I wouldn't have to work the day anyway. But if this wasn't the case, I wouldn't be volunteering. I'm not a martyr and I would refuse to feel bad about it too. I need time off as much as anybody else does.

I especially wouldn't be volunteering to allow someone to spend time with their family if they throw me under the bus several times a year and make me pick up all the work when their kid has the sniffles or if they themselves throw a sickie to chaperone a school trip to the zoo. No, I'm not helping you out. My mom didn't take days off work when I was ill or when I had a very special assembly.

so we should all work together to give them that magical moment.

That make me sick in my mouth a little bit. Nope, totally disagree. It isn't my responsibility to make Christmas 'magical' for anybody else's child - not when it was their choice to have their child and their choice to go into medicine or law enforcement. They knew what was going to be expected of them when they made all those decisions.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 02:53 AM
It's nice to offer, but they shouldn't have to.

Someone at my husband's work stirred up a bit contraversy when he argued that he should have to do a certain evening duty (that EVERYONE takes turns at) because he has a family. At the time, my daughter was a newborn, so a lot of people pointed out that Angus wasn't asking for special treatment and he was the one who most needed it. Angus never would though, because he knows that even those who don't have children need to have time in the evenings to relax and refresh. It's the same with Christmas, people without children deserve time off just as much as people with children do.

My husband is an ambulance officer, though he's doing youth work at the moment. When he works for an ambulance company, it's two days on, two nights on, and then four days off. That will almost always mean he's working Christmas Eve, or Christmas, or Boxing Day, or all three. Would it be nice if someone without kids said "Hey, I'll do your shifts over Christmas so you can be with your children?" Yes. Should they feel obligated? Absolutely not.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By RileyA Comments: 3120, member since Tue Jan 03, 2006
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 04:11 AM
No, I don't. Christmas is no less special for adults than it is for children, Christmas is just as important for adults if it is for children.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Kettricken Comments: 174, member since Thu Jun 07, 2012
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 07:25 AM
I agree with a lot of these posts.

My husband and I chose to not have kids. That doesn't mean that we are lesser beings who should have to work holidays. We have two nieces that we don't see often. They want us there for their 'magical moments'.

Also, Christmas is a religious holiday. It is about more than presents, a big family breakfast, or whatever. Christmas doesn't cease to matter when you reach a certain age or no longer believe in Santa.

On that note, however, if for some reason we aren't going anywhere for a holiday, and somebody else needed covered, I would probably step in.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas? (karma: 1)
By slice Comments: 1247, member since Fri Oct 15, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 07:31 AM
Er, no. Definitely, no.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3644, member since Sat Sep 20, 2003
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 08:09 AM
Agreed. It's a nice gesture, but if someone without kids wants to take the time off, that's fine.

It's also part of what makes people that outright volunteer so the people with kids can be with family a bit more... Noble? It's completely unnecessary, but appreciated all the more for it.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5172, member since Thu Jun 10, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 08:23 AM
No, you shouldn't get first pick of a day off just because you have children. Some people choose to be childless- one of my aunt's for instance chose to be childless. Is her wanting to spend time with her then-husband and other family members any less important because she doesn't have children?

Personally, I probably WOULD trade with someone who has children. But just because I don't mind working. And I remember Christmas as a kid, I would be heartbroken if my mom and dad couldn't be there because of a work obligation.

But if I requested the day off first, then I get first dibs... regardless of whether I have children or not.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:28 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 09:33:15
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 09:40:08
The way my bfs shift works is that if someone is scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, they usually end up working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and 2 days after it for 12-14 hour shifts. So, for me, I think it is honorable for someone to trade at least one of those days, so a child's parent isn't gone for 4 days during Christmas. I would have been heartbroken if I didn't see my parents the week of Christmas.

Louise, I find it odd that the idea of making it magical for someone else's child makes you a bit sick. I guess that's why I went into the profession of working with children daily, and you didn't. I dedicate my entire career to helping children and volunteer a lot of time I have to helping at risk youth etc etc. People have different priorities, and for me, children having a special time with their parents is a lot more important then Mass, Adult Christmas, etc. It's ok that we all feel differently about it. My coworkers are basically family, so I would trade in a heartbeat for people who special circumstances, elderly sick parents last Christmas, family with young children etc. I feel like it is one of the ways I can pay my dues to society in general.

^ I know that paragraph can be seen as judge but I swear it isn't. Some people to into animal conservation because they value animals, others go into elderly care because they believe the elderly are really important. Political groups march for beliefs they believe in. I just value children and believe they should be a priority in society. So yes, I DO feel that other children should get a magical moment, not just my hypothetical child's. It's totally ok that you have different beliefs.

Sure, it was the parents choice to go into law enforcement or medicine, but I feel that the children shouldn't get the short end of the stick because of that.

Odessa, but sometimes people don't get their vacation requests in order of picking. At my bf department, is is based on who has been their longer. So the new guys with young children are the last people who get to pick vacation( When they all pick on Jan 5) At your age, you would be one of the LAST ONES picking vacation, and by your logic you would never get ANY Holiday off until you were about 45/50.

No one should feel obligated nor should it be company policy. Based on this thread, I can see it probably doesn't happen commonly in your circle of work.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By ballerinatwirler Comments: 2083, member since Sat May 29, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:35 AM
Let's just put it like this.. I grew up with a police officer and a nurse for parents and no one ever switched with them. We've done Christmas a bunch of different ways because of their work schedules. It sucked but we dealt with it.

A few years ago my work pulled that crap. The manager has two younger children so she made the schedules to reflect that the moms got Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. I ended up getting screwed in the situation because I was scheduled a shift I had never worked on Christmas Eve. So I missed out on our party and guess what my family forgot to save me any food so I got off of work at 2 am and ate a half of bag of doritios for my dinner.

Just because you have children doesn't make you more entitled to have a day off.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By Dancing_EMTmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3467, member since Wed Dec 08, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:40 AM
No. I have family too. Find another sucker to trade with. It's not my problem you have kids.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:45 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 09:47:40
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 09:54:07
^^ see, that kind of entitlement pisses me off. I don't think your boss should have made it mandatory to switch. I would never approve for it to be a company policy thing.

I don't feel that parents should be entitled to have the day off because of kids, but I do think it would be nice if people were willing to switch with them.
Based on the ages of this thread, NONE of you would have Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas Eve off in about 15 years, except one person on here who is a bit older then us. So, the only way you would have off, is if someone switched with you, or your "personal weekends" fell on the day. So regardless of if you had children or not, you would have to work those holidays.

Amy, how did I know you would come in the join the party ;) usually people don't agree with you in debates, but it looks like a lot more people agree with you this time on the sentiment if " your kids aren't my problem".

I am not saying that childless people are less important. My bf and I are childless by choice and when we get married we don't plan on having children. Having kids doesn't automatically make you more entitled to everything. I am just saying grandparents, aunts etc understand that you can't be there due to work. As someone who didn't always have family there when I was a kid, it was heartbreaking and I feel that kids grow too quickly, so one day of " magical moment" is something I believe in for all children.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas? (karma: 1)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:47 AM
Edited by Louise (29559) on 2013-11-22 09:51:35
YYD, not sick as in "I'm disgusted by what you just said!" but sick as in "my god that was cringy and self-righteous". Ignoring the strong implication that you're a better person than me...

I don't hate children. I'm not Scrooge. I just don't see why people should miss out to help children they've never met. It's not the whole world's responsibility to make sure a kid has a magical Christmas. I actually want to say #firstworldproblems here because in many countries Christmas is just another day of poverty and misery and graft, and perhaps kids in America or Britain who have a parent working on Christmas day should be thankful that they have an income, or proud of them that they're saving lives. Or just thankful that Christmas is a thing at all! I'd sooner donate to children's charities than swap a shift.

Actually, I would pull something out of the bag to help a co-worker who had a sick relative whether it was Christmas or not. I'd pick up the slack for them and work extra to get their work done for them. Sick relatives are on a countdown. Christmas happens every year. I don't think missing Christmas with your kid is anywhere near as important as spending time with someone who hasn't got much time left.

Sure, it was the parents choice to go into law enforcement or medicine, but I feel that the children shouldn't get the short end of the stick because of that.

But people who are not related to the child should get short shrift instead? If a child shouldn't "suffer" because of their parents' choices, why should someone else who has the misfortune to be their parents' co-worker? The kid still gets the Christmas experience regardless - they still think Father Christmas came, the presents are still there, the dinner is still there, most of their family is still there, they can still go to church or whatever, they can still watch the Christmas tv specials. The person working Christmas doesn't get the Christmas experience.


Here's a question. There are two coworkers - Mary who's child-free but super religious, and Sarah who has kids but isn't religious at all. Who gets the day off? Mary, for whom the holiday actually means something, or Sarah, who only celebrates the consumer aspects of Christmas?
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7765, member since Sun Nov 21, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 09:48 AM
I would appreciate it if someone did... But in the same token I wouldn't expect it.

I understand that people who don't have kids have family too but I also know how much more special Christmas morning is when you have kids at least for me.

My dad has dialysis on Christmas day and I'm a little upset. Normally they would reschedule it. I can't make Teresa wait to open gifts but I want him there. I know there aren't going to be a lot more Christmases with him and well I just want to enjoy it. I also feel bad that there are all those nurses working Christmas day... Even though I know its part of the job description

I don't think they should have to but I'm the type who would switch if I didn't have kids.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:02 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 10:05:26
Louise I do agree with you. I also feel that if someone has a sick relative with little time left, I hope someone will also switch with them so they can be with them on Christmas or pick up slack.

Why should adult coworkers get the bad end of the stick? Because adults are adults and they understand that crap happens. Adults understand that it sometimes take sacrifices, but young kids don't always understand that.

I feel like Christmas has gotten out of hand with all the consumerism and Christmas music in August! For me, I feel like it is a " gift" that keeps in giving if you trade with someone who is less fortunate in the sense they have a sick relative or who needs the " gift" of the trade to be with young children. It is just that, a gift. It shouldn't be company policy nor should bosses force you to work a day you requested off,

Children are only young once. If an officer couldn't ever couldn't get Christmas Day with his kids from 21-45 years of age, I really think that sucks. I do feel that someone should trade with him a couple of years.

That's just my personal opinion and I assume most people don't agree with me in that. I don't think I am a better person because of it, nor am I acting self righteous like Louise implied.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas? (karma: 1)
By Josianemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1643, member since Sun Nov 06, 2005
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:03 AM
Edited by Josiane (144829) on 2013-11-22 10:05:25
So, because I make the choice of not having children and am the only childless person at my job, I would never spend another Christmas with my family. Ever. :O

Sure, Christmas is a magical time for kids and they should spend it with their parents. However, most people who have to work on Christmas Day are forced to do so because of a career they chose. They should have known those kinds of things before picking their career. People with children shouldn't have more privileges. My aunt who is a nurse had to work on Christmas day every third year. They found a way to make it work. They opened presents earlier. She came to the party later.

To me, it's just pure discrimination based on a family status, health condition or even sexual orientation. I would probably file a complaint to the Labour Board if someone made me do it. Not because I don't like children or because I don't think it's important for them to see their parents on Christmas. No, it's because I don't believe in discrimination.

I'm sorry if I come across as angry, but I've had to deal with this in the past at my job where people made me feel bad for refusing to work extra hours because I don't have children and probably have nothing else to do. And I hated it.
re: Should a childless employee trade off with someone for Christmas?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8689, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:14 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 10:18:11
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-11-22 10:24:58
Josiane, it is unfortunate that you were made to feel bad about it. I do not agree with that and no one should feel bad if they chose not to switch. I am not advocating for what you went through AT ALL.

Josiane, if you worked at my BF's job, you wouldn't spend christmas with your family until you were 45ish anyways. Think about it being on the other foot for a second. Would you ALL be ok with never spending christmas or Christmas Eve with your family until you were all 45 years old? Wouldn't you be grateful if you got someone to switch with you every once in a while, regardless of if you had kids or not?

Sure people knew what they were getting into when they chose their careers, but that has nothing to do with it. People go into those careers to save lives and help other people. People should be sympathetic to career risks, not just say " it's part of the career". How were people so against working Thanksgiving in retail, even if people " chose" to go into a career in retail. How is that not the same thing a doctor working in Christmas? They are both career risks, but people had a lot more sympathy to the retail worker. Why is that?

I guess cops, soldiers, firemen etc are all a different animal. They would give their life for their coworker, so trading a shift with them every once in a while is nothing. Most people wouldn't give up their life for their co-workers, so I guess they don't have the same " family bond" with each other. " Your family is my family" is a huge sentiment for them.

I understand that not everywhere operates like this, and I guess certain careers are an extreme case for " brotherhood/sisterhood". People in the department watch each others children grow up, they aren't JUST a coworkers child.

For the majority of people, I can see why it is weird to switch. I understand if you didn't have that bond with coworkers.
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