Looking for working holiday stories

Have you worked a Christmas Eve night?
How about Christmas morning or Christmas Day?

I’d like to hear your best story you told on that day. Did you get some breaking news that made the day go by fast or did the breaking news strike when you were about to hop into the car and go to Grandma’s house?

What was that like working your first Christmas?

I’d like to post some of your responses to a post I’m working on for this week.


6 thoughts on “Looking for working holiday stories

  1. I work at the newspaper every Christmas, every year. I’m Jewish, and if I wasn’t working, I’d be at the movies or eating Chinese food at home watching movies.

    Christmas is most always boring. Sometimes something catches fire. That happened a lot when I worked in the South and inevitably someone forgot how to fry a turkey correctly.

    On Christmas, I can always count on a story on the Pope pontificating about peace on Earth or not killing babies. Since 2002, I can also count on a story about the troops eating Christmas dinner with a surprise guest (look guys, it’s Condi Rice! With that guy from 30 Rock!)

    Sometimes on Christmas, it snows somewhere. A lot. And you get the inevitable White Christmas story.

    Christmas Eve is nice too. You always get the “lets follow Santa with NORAD” story on TV. I don’t understand why NORAD lies. Oh wait, isn’t it a government agency? Never mind.

    A lot of times, on Christmas Eve, I get to go home early. Then I get to stay up playing video games or watching a non-Christmas movie, like ‘Terminator 2.’ ‘Cuz nothing says Bah Humbug like robots taking over Earth.

  2. Running master control at an independent station with no news department was a very lonely Christmas. Ran morning cartoons and three or four movies. Didn’t want to screw up. Didn’t want to have to call the chief engineer for help on Christmas.

  3. It was at KBIM-TV in Roswell NM, my first Christmas Eve working. After I covered last minute shoppers, I had the fun job of tearing apart the Jamison film processor and scrubbing it down. This had to be done every so often.
    Nothing like the smell of bleach which yellows your fingers! When the film processor was not running- it really was a Silent Night! I remember looking out an open door that night and seeing the brilliant stars over head. ( No aliens ever mentioned back then)
    BTW we shot film with a CP-16 SOF (sound on film) camera and silent Bell & Howell windups.
    No tape injest or file upload, just ‘running it throught the soup’ then cutting and hoping it all looked good on air. Posting some of my old stuff to YouTube Facebook soon! Had almost forgotten about this- until you asked!!!
    Remember the next year having Christmas eve off- then driving back Christmas day afternoon trying to get to work on time- almost ran out of gas coming back from Carlsbad to Roswell NM in my 1976 AMC pacer. Went down to Carlsbad to spend time with a college buddy and his family. They treated me great.

  4. My first Christmas as a professional broadcaster took place in 1987. I was working as a night announcer/newsman at KILR in Estherville, Iowa. Since I was a new guy, I was stuck with working the holidays. I was all alone, isolated from family and friends. I was finished at around midnight Christmas Eve, and went to start my car.
    The car wouldn’t start. I had to call one of the other announcers at KILR, who was able to arrange an Estherville police officer to pick me up. The next day, our sports director arranged to have a local car mechanic fix the car. The problem was a frozen gas line. Definitely a memorable–not to mention depressing–Christmas!

  5. It’s never easy working a holiday, especially when your family lives in Memphis. Growing up in Cedar Rapids and working in the production department in high school, I have worked Christmas several times, but my family was right in town so it wasn’t lonely or sad.

    Last year, December 2008, was my first Christmas “alone” and away from my family. Before you go feeling bad for me…I wasn’t completely alone. I was blessed to be invited to my boyfriend’s family Christmas (we’d only been dating a few weeks) and I had several invites from Dubuquers. Either way, no matter how hard I tried, it was really hard for me. Everytime I heard the song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” I’d either turn the channel or start to cry.

    Anyway, I worked the dayside shift on Christmas Day. My story: people who have to work on Christmas. Ironic I know!! So I called up the fire department here in Dubuque and caught them as they were cooking and sharing a meal together. I spent the lunch hour talking with them about being away from their families and how hard it was to miss out. But after spending about an hour with them…I realized they weren’t drowning in their sorrows or even upset. They knew what they signed up for when they become firefighters and they knew they were making a difference. If a fire broke out anywhere, they’d be ready at a moments notice; to save someone’s Christmas.

    In all honesty, I learned a lot that day. Yeah it was hard being away from family. Yes it was hard working from a bureau. Yes it was cold and snowy…BUT I realized that I wasn’t really “alone.”

    To quote myself that day “if you can’t be with your family at Christmas, you can find family in the people you’re with.” After shooting the story with the fire department I was finished writing and editing it. After a full day’s work I spent the evening with my boyfriends family. It may not have been my family but I found “family” in them.

    It wasn’t easy and I hate that I’ll probably do it again in the future. But I will never forget the lesson I learned that day. You have the make the best of what you’ve got. And you’ve got to find “family” or perhaps “community” where you are…until you can get where you want to be.

    This year…I’m headed south on Christmas Eve (pending weather) in hopes to make up for lost time last year. I am extremely grateful!

    And no matter where you are this Christmas…have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!


  6. After 30+ years in the media business the process doesn’t change.
    I’ve been lucky to have worked few Christmas Days over the years. I ‘trade’ working Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day for not working Christmas. A two-for-one trade usually works! and it was sign-on so it was home early.
    Over the years the kids grew up knowing that was the routine and didn’t know any different. I haven’t seen a New Year’s Day parade in years.

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