Whoever said that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year has probably never had the unique opportunity of working retail during the holidays.

But whether you’re a seasonal employee or a retail pro, there are a few things you can do to make your time on the sales floor a little easier.

Here are 10 tips for surviving a retail job during the holidays.

1. Make a List

When you work in retail, work often comes between you and your personal holiday obligations. After all, who can find the time to roast a turkey, wrap presents, or even do their Christmas shopping when they’re working 60-hour weeks?

Working retail during the holidays? Get shopping done early so you aren't rushing at the last minute!

Don’t neglect your own shopping list! Get as much of your holiday shopping done as possible before Black Friday and shop online whenever you can. Another quick way to save time and money is to take advantage of your store discount and shop during your breaks.

2. Check it Twice

The holiday season can sometimes feel like a big blur, so it helps to keep yourself updated.

Check the store’s schedule regularly, in case there were last-minute changes. The last thing you want is to get on your supervisor’s bad side because you missed a shift.

Update yourself on customer service best practices, as well. Brush up on layaway and return policies and know what the “it” items are so you can advise customers.

And shopping isn’t the only thing on the upswing during the holidays. Be on the lookout for fraud and theft. (Not everyone participates in the holiday spirit.)

3. Don’t drive yourself crazy

It seems like every place you go is busier during the holidays, and that includes roads.

white model car in snowy winter scene

Stay one step ahead of rush hour by leaving for work a little earlier than you normally would. When traffic gets intense, you won’t have to worry about being late.

Once you get to the store, don’t be surprised if your usual parking spot has been taken by a shopper. Have a discussion with your manager about which parking spots are off-limits and which are up for grabs.

4. Dress for success

Save the stilettos and ugly Christmas sweaters for after-hours; you’ll be on your feet for 12 hours and it’s 85 degrees outside!

Making sure that your comfortable will go a long way toward making your next shift bearable. Stick with a good set of walking shoes and clothes you can move around in (Santa hat is optional).

5. Protect Yourself

While protecting your sanity might seem like the most pressing need, don’t forget to protect your health.

Christmastime is also workers’ comp season, as many retail employees try to keep up with the holiday rush. Management should remind employees of safety hazards around the store as well as ways to prevent workplace injuries.

The malls are crowded during the holidays! Wash hands regularly.

Cold weather and crowds increase the risk of another threat: germs. (Money is dirty!) Wash hands regularly or use hand sanitizer and encourage sick employees to stay home, even if they “really need” the money. Spreading a contagion throughout the team during the busiest time of year is never a good idea.

6. Brown bag it

No, not your presents…your lunch!

Lines at the food court and drive-thru are going to be longer when everyone is out doing their holiday shopping, so bring your own lunch to work. Instead of spending your lunch hour braving traffic, you’ll have time to relax. (Not to think of all the money you’ll save!)

7. Self Care

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure you set aside time for some self care throughout your day. This can be as simple as drinking some water or escaping to the stock room for a few minutes to clear your head.

Santa's hand taking cookie from plate

Try one (or more!) of these suggestions to create a mini vacation in the midst of the holiday chaos:

  • Sip on a hot drink, like cocoa, tea, or a latte.
  • Light a fire.
  • Listen to music.
  • Get a pedicure.
  • Take a bath or soak in a hot tub.
  • Read the latest bestseller.
  • Try an adult coloring book.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride.

Or just binge some Netflix shows and pass out on the couch!

8. Take The Shortcut

If you’re working retail during the holidays, there won’t be a lot of time leftover for anything else. But if you don’t have anyone else to pick up the slack for you, don’t feel bad about taking a shortcut here and there.

Make things easy on yourself by putting presents in gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Buy a pre-made holiday meal from the grocery store or a local restaurant instead of cooking it from scratch.

Christmas isn’t a competitive sport!

9. Be a Grinch

Hearing those Christmas songs play non-stop is enough to make even Santa go a little batty, so it’s okay to take a break from Christmas every once in a while!

grinch figurine

Swap out the Christmas music for some classic rock, turn off the Hallmark Channel and watch an action-packed superhero movie, or even plan an “anti-Christmas party” with some other retail employees.

It might also help to think beyond the holidays for a while. Plan a cool trip or think about how you’re going to spend all that extra holiday cash!

10. Enjoy the season!

Don’t let the stress of working retail during the holidays ruin your holiday spirit! For every grumpy customer you deal with, there are plenty more happy ones who are ready to spread some holiday cheer! Look for the good in each day and don’t forget to pay it forward.

If you have to work on Christmas Day, find some way of making it special for you. Maybe choose a different day to celebrate the holiday with family and friends or plan something fun and festive with your coworkers.

Conclusion

Working retail during the holidays may not be your ideal way to spend the season, but there are definitely ways to survive it.

Long hours and stress create the perfect conditions for a workplace injury, so  plan ahead, stay calm, and take care of yourself as best you can until January.

But if you do get injured at work this winter, file a workers’ comp claim as soon as possible! You have a limited amount of time to file a workers’ compensation claim and this time passes very quickly, especially during the holidays.

Just like working retail during the holidays, your workers’ comp case can be overwhelming. But at BDT Law, our goal is to give you the advice and guidance you need to make informed decisions that are in your best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Brian Tadros

Brian Tadros

Mr. Tadros has been a member of the Florida Bar for over 14 years. Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Tadros has represented injured workers, employers, and insurance companies. This wide variety of experience provides him with a unique perspective which assists him in achieving the best possible outcome for his clients.