The holidays are not for working

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at 6:20 PM

The holidays are officially here. It’s the time of year where people all around the country look forward to time with family, relaxation and time off from their everyday responsibilities.  Unfortunately, many of the average working class in the U.S. won’t be sitting down on Thanksgiving with their families to eat, or opening presents on Christmas morning. Instead, they will be continuing to serve the public, even on the deadest days of the year, as everyone else is sitting at home, enjoying their time off with loved ones.

This brings about one question — is it insensitive or unethical to have anyone stuck at work during the most magical days of the year? In 1885, Congress thought so. It was agreed that each citizen deserves certain days off throughout the year, which is how federal holidays were born, but due to the growth of the working class and the average hours worked weekly in the U.S. throughout the last century, this ideology seems to have made a shift. 

Compared to 1950, according to Something Finance, the average U.S. worker’s hours have increased by a whopping 400 percent, making the U.S. the most overworked country in the world, and leaving 1 in 4 Americans with zero time off during the year, including holidays. In fact, the U.S. is the only country in the world that does not legally require paid holiday or leave time, according to Equitable Growth.

This leaves many people wondering why the U.S. seems to value our productivity levels over our time spent with loved ones celebrating the holidays. Even though there are people who may not have loved ones to celebrate the holidays with, it doesn’t mean they still don’t deserve the holidays off. Many people use the season to recuperate and get their mental health back on track before returning to work for a fresh new year.

College students seem to be especially stressed out during this time of the year, as keeping up good grades and maintaining a job on the side can be extremely troubling. It results in lack of sleep, high anxiety levels and social distance from loved ones.  

Because college students are employed mostly in the food service or retail industries, it leaves them stuck at work during the holidays, preventing them from making it back to their home for the holidays.

As a college student myself, all while maintaining a job, I know very well the struggle and the need to have my holidays off in order to be relieved of the everyday stresses — even just for a few days.

There is nothing more refreshing than coming back to school after spending some quality time with the most important people in your life and resting up after binge eating leftovers for days in row. This leaves people ready and re-energized to ring in the new year and find some fresh motivation to make it through the new semester and work weeks ahead. Let’s let the working class rest this holiday season.

Abby Martinson can be reached at

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