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Survival Guide for Working During the Holidays

The chestnuts are roasting by the fire; everyone is dressed in warm flannel pyjamas and lit with the soft orange glow from the fireplace. The radio’s playing warming carols and conveying season’s greetings. A kid screams as he violently pulls at your green tights. Cut to reality….The harsh florescent lights make everything a sickly blue-grey and it’s the 70th time you’ve heard “Let it snow” today. You deserve recognition Holiday Worker, enough with this Kincaid-ian image of idyllic warm holidays. You’re in the trenches, sales banners flying triumphantly overhead and the rhythm of “Little Drummer Boy” you march into Christmacolypse. Well barapa bam bam mother-fathers (and kids).

Duck and cover

Your boss always calls you his ‘people on the ground’, you are the infantry of your Big Box Store. As you are attacked by barrages of mindless holiday shoppers you will have to duck and cover to avoid their stupid pointless questions. Be keen so you can recognize the signs of someone ready to ask a question and spot the point you would like to take cover. Generally, they’ll stop in the middle of an open space, cock their head up slightly and look around out into nothingness, just above the clothes racks. Duck down and move towards the point of cover. It can be a display, shelf, clothes rack, or even a desk.

Reverse Camouflage

Normally you dress to blend into the environment. Most big box stores’ uniforms though feature the garish colors of their trademark. Bright Reds, Royal Blues and Whites. Remember, you are not out in the wild. You are in an artificial environment decorated with those exact colors, use this to your advantage. If you are wearing red hide behind a huge candy cane. If you are wearing blue hide behind a bath toy display. It is a matter of knowing your environment.


Make sure you are familiar with your surroundings as this will greatly increase your chance of survival. Always create multiple points of exit and entry. Exit for customers, re-entry for bosses, supervisors or relatives of the aforementioned.


Moral is crucial to surviving working during the holidays. Use earplugs to block out the nightmarish dubstep-esque mix of screaming kids, commentary on last night’s reality show and the Chipmunk’s version of Jingle Bell Rock. If you intend on doing damage then replace earplugs with earbuds and blast some Rammstein. Of course, both these techniques can put you at risk for the behind-poke question. Keep your eyes peeled.

Morale 2

Overstimulation is an occupational hazard of anyone that works during any holiday. Not only will your surrounding be garish and offensive but in most cases so will the patrons. Expect sweaters with turkeys, pilgrims and reindeer in the most abrasive color combinations. To exacerbate this visual bombardment themed hats might rear their unsightly tacky heads. A bit of chemical help should elevate this. Make sure any alcohol that you include in your survival kit is Christmas themed to minimize detection. Cinnamon and peppermint schnapps are the safest but can also opt for butterscotch or caramel liqueurs.

Have you survived working during the holidays? What was your best strategy to get out of sticky situations? Let us know in the comment section below.

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