We all enter the fire service knowing it’s the greatest job on earth and there is not another occupation we’d rather be doing. We also grasp the harsh reality that we are in fact a 24/7 service being open for business on nights, weekends, holidays, and everything in between. At the start the year, shift, or however your respective department operates, there is one specific date everyone immediately checks.....am I gonna be stuck working Christmas? If assigned working Christmas, for most, it’s an immediate blow to the gut. Not only are you disappointed but you think to yourself just how upset your significant other and kids are going to be when they get the news that “daddy’s not going to be home on Christmas”.
Christmas is a very special day for many of us within our fire service. Not only is it important for members with kids, but also a special time for those without. Party’s on Christmas/Christmas Eve, spending time with family, seeing family members you may only see a few times a year. For many it culminates to being the two biggest days of the year. The holiday season does not only include Christmas but encompasses a host of other holidays people celebrate as well. Hanukkah has come to an end but the same goes for all holiday’s each respective religion celebrates. Being home with family on these reverent days is of utmost priority.
Well guess what, it’s that time of year and new members need to step up and do the right thing.....sign up to work overtime, offer to work someone else’s shift, or do whatever it takes to make yourself available. As we get older, we realize just how quickly time goes by. Kids aren’t kids for long and within the blink of an eye will be grown up and out of the house. It probably sounds corny, but for those without kids, it’s inexplainable just how amazing the holiday really is. Being with your kids on Christmas and Christmas Eve is priceless. Seeing the high strung energy, asking to open an early present, putting cookies & milk out for Santa, watching out the window trying to get a glimpse of the sleigh, waking up in the morning, running downstairs, opening their presents. My father passed eight months ago and I finally get what he always meant by how “watching me and my sister on Christmas morning was always the best”. Being with your family on Christmas is one of the most special times of the year and to be on shift at the firehouse, not able to be part of that magic back at home, just plain out sucks.
As stated before I understand that Christmas is special to most, even those without kids. But I promise you if you're a new firefighter without kids of your own and step up to work the day for a senior member who does have kids, it will not be forgotten. I’m a true believer that everything in life comes full circle. If your a good person, good things will happen to you and if your a bad person... well??? I’m not just talking about the probie stepping up and working the holiday. I’m also talking about all newer members with only a few years on the job who don’t have kids. I was elated to see that on my department many younger members and even some veterans are signed up to work on Christmas & Christmas Eve attempting to give those with younger kids the best chance of being with their families.
I know it’s not optimal but it’s the right thing to do. So you might miss spending Christmas day with your girlfriend/boyfriend, parents, siblings, etc, but more than likely one day that significant other might become your spouse and you may very well have children of your own. It is then, you will realize the importance of getting the day off and being home with your family. Your deeds will come full circle and by that time there will be a new generation of probies on your job. It then will be their time to step up and do the right thing. It might even materialize to when the member whom your working for will remember what you did for them and return the favor when your children are born.
Merry Christmass & Happy Holidays to all!!!