It’s December 25th, and for the longest time this day has been your favorite day of the year. Your family has a long-standing tradition of going to your grandmother’s house and eating a stuffed turkey dinner, drinking mulled wine and watching classic Christmas movies. But this year is different — rather than excitement you feel dread.

While your family is gathered together today celebrating you’ll be standing behind a sparsely populated bar for 10 hours straight, surrounded by strangers and co-workers.

You log into Facebook and are hit with an onslaught of cutesy Christmas posts of your friends and family members opening presents, clinking glasses and enjoying the holiday.

“Ughhhhh,” you groan loudly as you imagine getting through your shift tonight. You’re already wishing for tomorrow so today can be over with.

Working on Christmas isn’t exactly the shift every bartender dreams of, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. And it doesn’t have to be all bad, in fact it can be relaxing AND enjoyable! Here’s how to make the most of it:

Craft a Christmas Cocktail

Get your creative juices flowing and add some festivities into your shift by crafting a Christmas cocktail! Think: nutmeg, cinnamon, peppermint, pumpkin, apple, chocolate etc. the possibilities are endless.

It’s probably not going to be too busy at the bar, so take advantage of the time and get creative! You’re the mixologist, and today is the perfect day to experiment with the flavors and spices around you.

Once you craft a cocktail you’re happy with, ask your manager if you can market it as as an all-night special and recommend it to everyone who comes in. This is a great way to increase your tips and have fun while you’re doing it!

FaceTime With Your Family

Okay, okay so it’s Christmas and you can’t celebrate with your family and friends, so what’s a bartender to do? Use your breaks to their fullest and step outside or go to an employees only section and call your loved ones. Let them know you’re thinking about them and wish them a Merry Christmas.

This is a great way to catch up with everyone and experience a bit of the holidays with your family so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on everything! Plus, you can remind them to leave you a glass of the delicious mulled wine…

Do Something Nice For Your Co-workers

Chances are one or more of your co-workers feels slighted and/or bummed that they got stuck with the Christmas shift (and hey, you might too). Working when everyone else is relaxing and enjoying time at home with their families is depressing IF you let it be — so don’t!

Sprinkle some Christmas spirit into your bar, and give your co-workers the gift of kindness by doing something nice for each of them during this shift.

Maybe this means you go and pick up a box of coffee for everyone to enjoy, or bring in Christmas cookies, or leave a funny/nice sticky note in each person’s work area to make them smile.

Small gestures, especially during holidays, go a long way in helping someone maintain a positive perspective and happy shift! And what’s more — by perking their spirit, you’ll perk your own too!

Make the Most of Your Time At Work

Perspective is everything — it dictates your attitude, happiness level and so much more. While it might not be your ideal to work today, the reality is you ARE working today. So, rather than sulking and being the Grinch of Christmas, make the most of your time at work.

Talk to your coworkers. Engage your customers in authentic conversation (you might be pleasantly surprised at the Christmas tips you receive!). Put on Christmas music. Clean and organize your bar. Make a list of what your bar needs for New Year’s Eve and start preparing for the next big holiday. And most of all, enjoy yourself!

Plan Your Holiday Time During an Off Day

This time of the year is known as the “holiday season” because the celebrations are ongoing. Just because you’re missing today doesn’t mean you have to miss all of the goodness this time of year brings with it.

Find a time to reach out to everyone you’re missing today (perhaps during your Facetime session, or during another shift break) and figure out a plan to catch up and celebrate your own Christmas! Doing this will give you something to look forward to and make it easier for your to concentrate on having a great shift today.

Give Your Customers the Gift of Kindness

Chances are the customers you’re going to serve today are either traveling and away from family, new to the area, without local family and friends and/or don’t celebrate Christmas. Whatever brought them in today, keep in mind they’ve probably come into your bar because everything else is closed and they don’t want to be alone. Bearing that in mind, the best gift you can give your customers today is kindness — after all, Christmas is all about serving others and you’re in the exact position today to do just that!

Go out of your way to make your Christmas customers feel welcome. Engage them in conversation and find out what brought them in today. Introduce them to the other bartenders so they don’t feel alienated (especially if there are only a few people in the bar) and make them feel special.

By being kind and welcoming, you might just turn their day from bad to good and make this a memorable and fun Christmas for them and a lucrative one for you!

Above all remember, today is just one day in the grand scheme of your life. There will be plenty of time to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends, so approach your time at work today in a positive manner and expect to have a good shift!

Antasha Durbin

Antasha is a seasoned bartender with more than seven years of bartending and hospitality experience. She is also a spiritual writer at, where she writes free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living. You can follow her on Twitter @cajspirituality for daily inspiration.