Military Life Resources Family & MilSpouse

5 benefits of having duty on Christmas

Duty on Christmas is the worst. Except when it isn't.
Ruddy Cano Avatar

We’ve all at one point or another had to pull duty on a holiday and the news is demoralizing. Pulling duty on a holiday is generally terrible, and especially hard if you had plans with family. However, there are several benefits to having duty on Christmas, specifically. All I want for Christmas is no duty, no duty…All I want for Christmas is no duty…Oh no here come Gunny to ruin Christmas.

Here are 5 benefits of having Christmas duty:

1. You can make some cash to take over Christmas duty if you weren’t assigned it

This happened to me once. An acquaintance of mine had duty and he already bought his plane ticket and made plans with his family. Nonrefundable, in true boot Marine tradition. They were devastated. He offered me $400 to take over a 24-duty shift. The going rate during OEF in garrison was $100 for a normal day of duty, $200 for a bank holiday and $400 for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. 

Easiest money I ever made because I was not even planning on going home. 

2. Usually, the barracks are empty and at low risk of an incident happening

While I was on duty as an NCO on Christmas, the barracks were empty. Only the Marines who had to pull duty were left while everyone was on block leave. Everyone followed the rules, we knew who everyone was, and when there was a person we didn’t recognize, they stood out like a sore thumb. You rover your post, log it and report to the OOD (Officer of The Day) when he/she is on deck. Nothing new or unusual to report at this time.

3. You earn brownie points toward not working the next holiday

Nothing in the Marine Corps is guaranteed but you can be certain you will have a strong case against ending up on another roster. If you have solid leadership and you’ve kept your name clean, there is a good chance you can save yourself from being on duty during a holiday or another block leave.

Guard duty. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Maj. Brandon R. Mace)

4. Christmas and New Year’s events on or around base

There are some events that, if you are married and your family lives nearby, you can still enjoy the holiday season with them. Whether it’s drive-thru lights, special holiday concerts or a nice meal with your family, Christmas really is whatever day you want it to be.

5. People feel sorry for you

Never underestimate the power of pity. Go ahead and milk it, anytime, any place. This is the one day a year you can play the duty card, unabashedly. You know your mom will send you extra cookies and your brother might even snag you an extra bourbon at the holiday drop.

Merry Christmas you filthy animals!