Increasing numbers of us will not be taking a time out for Christmas. These are some of the most unfortunate professions to be in over the holidays.
Paramedics: A sharp spike in alcohol-related injuries make this the nightmare season for ambulance staff, and their patients are often violent as well as difficult to treat. In many countries, paramedics take longer shifts over Christmas, including December 25, so the thankless task lasts longer.
McDonald’s: The world’s second largest restaurant chain (after sandwich chain Subway) has pressured franchises to open on Christmas Day, which had been the only day it closed. Employees have petitioned the company to change their minds, but the restaurants will open, with no holiday pay or overtime for staff.
Sports stars: Not normally deserving of sympathy, but while most people are eating themselves into a coma, athletes are sprinting around frozen fields and playing matches that the hopes of millions rest on. The US basketball season arranges a number of top clashes for December 25, while British footballers can forget spending time with their loved ones.
Plumbers: The season of frozen pipes means the people that fix them are constantly on call, and as families push their homes to the limit, emergencies are far more likely. Plumbers are also under severe pressure to resolve problems quickly so the occasion is not interrupted.
Samaritans: At peak time for suicides and depression, the UK suicide prevention charity offers 24-hour support to people in crisis. Conditions can be bleak too for staff managing the phones, sacrificing their holiday to work around the clock offering hope to the hopeless, as well as a punchbag for abuse.
Honourable mentions for: Soldiers, security guards, vicars, chefs and reporters for 24-hour news channels.