Do you remember the good old days when Christmas came around? Everyone took days off work to make the necessary preparations for this special day.
The holiday spirit sets in as soon as December hits the calendar and reaches its peak a week before the D-day.
By December 20th most people have everything needed to make this magical day a day to remember.
Christmas day is not about church, carols and good food; it is about being together and cementing family bonds. This is the only day you would give anything just to be with your loved ones.
Unfortunately, in today’s fast-moving society, more people spend this wonderful holiday at work; some businesses have to operate 24 hours a day-7 days a week. Pharmacies, fast food joints, night clubs, petrol stations and hospitals stay open and this means that doctors, nurses, priests, security guards, policemen/women and soldiers, waitresses, musicians and journalists do not have the luxury of spending Christmas all day with their families.
Working on Christmas day is particularly difficult for parents; they often feel like they are putting work before their family.
Stephen Muthiani, the Deputy Manager of Nakumatt Holdings Ltd, said he has not shared Christmas with his family for 15 consecutive years!
“My family understands my situation, when I get a break, which is usually in January; I spend quality time with them and try to make it up to them,” Muthiani said.
Children resent the fact that their parents are not with them during this special day, or that celebrations are cut short due to their work schedules.
“I spent last year’s Christmas working. I badly wanted to be with my family this year, but it looks like I’m not going to make it! But I’ll try to be with them on Boxing Day,” said Oswald Mutuyeyezu, the Chief Editor at City Radio.
Helen Gashegu, 29 years, is a florist who knows well the pain in her daughter’s voice every time she asks her if she will be leaving them for work on Christmas day.
“That was one of the most hurting questions I’ve ever been asked,” Gashegu said.
“My answer must have got plastered on my face because before I could answer, her brother, retorted, ‘But you always tell us your family comes first!’” she added.
Fabrice Gaju, 32 years, a petrol-station attendant at Kobil Petrol Station next to Rubangura House sadly confessed that he is not going to spend Christmas day with his family because of work.
“There’s no such luck, come this Christmas day, I will be working my head-off! About my family, I will find a way of somehow making it up to them,” Gaju said.
Celine Mukande is a waitress who will not be spending Christmas with her family either and says, “My folks are not going to like it when I don’t show up for Christmas, but I need to keep my job too.”
On the other hand, doctors have the ethical obligation to serve their patients over festival celebrations.
“When you work in a hospital, you can’t put patients on the shelf and go home to celebrate Christmas with your folk!” Dr. Binti Susan curtly said.
If you find yourself working through Christmas, you are not alone. In fact, working through Christmas seems to be moving more towards a norm rather than the unusual in modern society.