Why Your Employees Hate the Christmas Holiday

Work Related Holiday Stress

Merry Bleepin‘ Christmas?

It’s December.  The end of the year. The most festive time of the year.  The holiday season.  The time of the year when – inevitably – I wound up uttering a phrase that brings out gasps among my co-workers.

I hate Christmas.

Work Related and Holiday Stress

I don’t hate it because I am a Grinch, or because I used to be expected to plan a soiree and decide if we should call the company Christmas party, or the company holiday event.   I hate the Christmas season because of the stress it creates on employees in a variety of jobs all through the month of December.  The holiday creates or fosters stress at work and in life.

Here’s the perspective I had of the holidays back in the days when I worked for the US Postal Service.

I worked for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier from 1979 to 1986. I started as a “90 day probationary” employee in mid-December in 1979. I resigned shortly after Christmas in 1986. This means I had the excruciatingly agonizing joy of experiencing eight Christmas mailing seasons.
I was known as the Grinch around my house every year from Thanksgiving until mid-January. My holiday joy diminished daily as the letters, packages, overtime and snow piled up inexorably, with the worst crush coming on the Night Before Christmas. While not all inclusive by any means, here’s  a bunch of reasons why your letter carrier may seem grumpier than usual.

Ten Reasons to Hate the Holidays

  • Delivering mail in the dark
  • People from Florida who shipped cases of Citrus to their frozen friends and family in Michigan, causing me to lug hundreds of pounds of fruit around my route
  • Starting at 6 AM and working until 7 PM every day during the holidays
  • Hearing the PA announce: “2 hours mandatory overtime” 5 minutes before quitting time
  • Snow, then ice, then more snow, and then you slide off the road and wait 2 hours for a tow
  • People wanting to know how much it will cost to mail a package, sitting inside their heated car while you stand in a frigid wind on an ice covered street
  • The IRS mailing tax preparation books on December 26th
  • Working until 10 PM on Christmas Eve
  • The manic depressive leadership style of my supervisor who worked at the Post Office
And apparently, letter carriers are not the only ones who get grumpy during the holiday seasons. According to a story from the Sault Star , workers in Austria and the Czech Republic have sought the help of their labor unions in an effort to defend themselves against the aural onslaught of Christmas Muzak!

Christmas Muzak is akin to ‘acoustic torture’ used at

In Austria, a union of shop workers threatened legal action, declaring festive songs a health and safety concern. “They feel as if they are terrorized all day,” said spokesman Gottfried Rieser. “Especially Jingle Bells. It arouses aggressive feelings.”

Unions in the Czech Republic demanded stores stop playing carols incessantly or pay compensation for the resulting emotional trauma to sales clerks, describing it as “acoustic torture.” (full story here)

Deck the effin‘ Halls! Fa-la-la-la-blah! Share your favorite Grinchy holiday story in the comments, or tell me how wrong I am, either works.
Oh yeah, Happy holidays from me to you and yours!
Posted in

Michael Vandervort

Mike Vandervort is Human resources strategist. HR consultant, writer and speaker. His specialties include Social Media, Employee Relations, HR, & Labor Relations. Connect with Michael.

Reader Interactions



Pin It on Pinterest