For some, Christmas means a day on the job

MADISON, Wis. - Most people spend their Christmas Day with family or friends, but for some, the holiday is just another day on the job.

Tully's II Food & Spirits is one of a few Madison-area restaurants open 365 days per year. Its owner, Sherry Hayes, and her staff spent their Christmas working at the Monona restaurant.

Hayes said the holidays are a busy time for the business.

"Some people need a place to go," Hayes said. 

For Hayes, working Christmas is a fun time. She said she enjoys spending time with customers and her "work family" on the holidays.

"People are in a good mood," Hayes said. "We decorate up a little bit, we make sure that we have a special meal for the holidays. We make sure (the customers) get a lot to eat." 

Hayes said customers will return the favor with increased tips.

"People are so generous around the holidays," she said.

Good food was also on the menu at Station 7 of the Madison Fire Department, located on the city's southwest side. As they stood ready at the station for any emergency calls Monday afternoon, firefighters prepared a special treat for Christmas dinner: prime rib.

It was firefighter Patrick Johnson's first Christmas working at MFD; he's been with the department for a year and a half.

"(It's been) pretty steady on calls," Johnson said. "Just because it's the holiday doesn't mean the calls don't come in." 

Johnson said working holidays is something he and every first responder signs up for when they take the job, something he considers an honor to be able to do.

"It does make it a little bit sweeter when people are nice and say thank you for working on Christmas," he said. "Like we say, it's a pleasure for us to have you at home with your family and us here with our second family here at the Madison Fire Department." 

Of course, journalists also have to work holidays.

Here at News 3, you see anchors and reporters delivering the news on-air every Christmas, but behind the scenes, there's a hard-working team of producers, photojournalists, web staff and operations spending each holiday working to prepare and gather the news. 

"Of course, I'd love to be with my family, but since this year that's not an option, I'm here and so far it hasn't been too bad," producer Steph Fryer said. "It's actually kind of a relaxing day, everyone's in the holiday spirit and it's kind of making the hours fly by." 

According to a 2014 survey, 25 percent of Americans will work at least one of the three major winter holidays.

Local and Regional News