26 Dec 2015

Working Christmas Day - it's not all bad

8:42 am on 26 December 2015

Christmas Day is already off to a cracking start. Either betrayed by an alarm clock or my own sense of self-assurance, I'm an hour early for work.

I, like hundreds, am working on the merriest day of the year.

RNZ reporter Max Towle.

RNZ reporter Max Towle in festive mood, Christmas Day. Photo: RNZ / Graham Smith

But rather than feeling sorry for myself and tearfully scrolling through images of ravaged turkeys and discarded wrapping paper, I ask is being shackled to a desk really so labourious?

Personally speaking, to be at least employed (unlike last year) is a blessing.

To avoid family quarrels, the scurrying of children, Michael Buble, and a customary showing of Love Actually is further good fortune.

My window overlooks the mouth of State Highway 1 and I watch an endless stream of cars going to and fro.

Many appear to have all their worldly possessions strapped to the roof. Oh, to be sat in a steel coffin for two hours.

Christmas inevitably becomes about self-reflection and assessing the state of one's life, so as a pessimist, the office is a fine place to avoid such desperate thinking.

But what about those in uniform working this day?

I phone the local policeman and ask how he's enjoying the festivities.

"I get paid and it's just like any other day."

A man after my own heart.

A cheerful soul at a petrol station clocks off at 2pm.

"Everyone in our family puts a present under the tree and we all open them randomly - it saves us a lot of money."

The poor RNZ sub tasked with editing this rambling mess finds the day "odd".

"You kind of get this feeling that everything is happening outside this office and you're in this weird bubble... but then it also feels like another quiet day at work."

The Black Caps are on to a winner. Before their Boxing Day game, the boys have morning training and then a barbeque at Brendon McCullum's house.

I imagine he would host an excellent barbeque.

There are others too, slaving away - vicars, emergency workers, small business workers, tireless matriarchs.

In Auckland, SkyCity's decadent eateries will cook so you don't have to, the giant squid is lonely and seductively waiting at Wellington's Te Papa, while ex-pats will appreciate the cold at Christchurch's International Antarctic Centre.

Journalist Jeffrey Bernard once wrote his Christmas wish is to fly away to a foreign land and be brought copious amounts of vodka on silver salvers.

Another fine idea.

Here, RNZ is putting on a platter of salmon, sparkling wine and strawberries.

Things could be worse.