Monday, November 24, 2003
A story released today by New Journal Online reports that employees at the Regency House, a nursing facility, balance their mutual holiday interests. For example, Floretta White, a nurse's aide, takes Thanksgiving off because she likes to cook and play hostess.
A single mom with grown children, White invites college students and friends who may not have a place to go. White also takes dinner to colleagues at work.
On Christmas, friends may return the favor. She'll be working while colleagues with young children will be unwrapping presents. Other colleagues prefer the high life of New Year's Eve.
"It all works out so everybody has a nice holiday with no complications," White said.
When choosing holidays, it's a good idea to pick early, advises Tom Coleman, the executive director of Unmarried America, a group promoting equal rights for unmarried workers.
Otherwise, singles or married workers without children may find themselves in a familiar role of having to work during a major holiday.
"It's a very common complaint," Coleman said.
It's added punishment for single workers accustomed to working longer hours and getting fewer benefits than their colleagues with children, he said.
Singles are thought to be more flexible with their time. The stereotype is that singles don't have a life outside work, Coleman said.
In reality, the single worker may want to sing in the church choir on Christmas or visit extended family during Thanksgiving.
Like married workers, singles form personal ties, too. Of the 86 million unmarried adults in the United States, only 27 million live alone, Coleman said.
Bishop's Glen, a nursing facility in Holly Hill, tries to make the holiday crunch fair by rotating schedules, using temp workers and asking for volunteers, said Dallas Harding, the administrator. "We don't go to single people and single them out."