Breaking Down Christmas Movie Workplace Environments
We are just two weeks away from Christmas and it’s time to go full holiday mode. There’s a lot to love about the holiday season, but as someone who considers watching Netflix a hobby, the best part is hands down watching Christmas movies.
To celebrate, we will be breaking down some of the most iconic workplaces from Christmas movies. And when I say iconic, I meant it. I will NOT be discussing any Hallmark or Netflix movies. I’m not breaking down a small-town eggnog store or a big-city lawyer’s legal practice. You gotta draw the line somewhere. Though I will say that Love Hard was actually pretty good. Moving on.
Breaking Down Workplace Environments from Christmas Movies
This one is a little tricky, since there’s probably 100 different version of Santa’s workshop throughout cinematic history with slight variations in employee count, management style and power structures (sometimes Santa’s the boss, sometimes his brother Fred has to work off a debt so he takes over a significant amount of the day to day operations, etc.)
For the sake of the argument, let’s go with a generic version where the factory is located in The North Pole, Santa is the boss and super nice about it, and there are about 10,000 elf employees responsible for manufacturing toys and goodies to deliver to all the well-behaved Christian children on the entire planet (roughly 526 million according to Google) every Christmas.
- Working for an Iconic Founder
- It’d be a huge thrill to get to name-drop Santa at a North Pole dinner party. “Sorry I’m late guys, my meeting ran long. We’re putting together a Q4 presents projection for Santa and you know how he gets.” I’d let it take over my entire personality if I ever passed him in the hallway once.
- Mission driven work.
- Assuming the Nice List is well-vetted and maintained, every day you wake up with the purpose of making a toy for a well deserving child. What could be more rewarding than that?
- Seasonal Hours
- You gotta imagine that for at least the first 6 months of the year, your work is relatively light. Sure, you’re planning for Christmas and recapping last year’s performance but when it comes to true manufacturing, you’re most likely shutting down the machines until you start to get a handle on wish list trends for the holiday season.
- The North Pole is generally considered the most inhospitable terrain on the entire planet. On your daily commute, there’s a very real chance you’ll die from hypothermia or be mauled by the Abominable Snowman. If you’re a talented toy engineer elf from anywhere else in the world, it’s a big ask to uproot your family and move here for a new job.
- Demanding Work and Hours
- Factory work is no fucking joke to begin with, but you add the stakes of “the fate of Christmas for every good boy and girl on the globe” to the table? Come Q4, you are working around the clock and mistakes are simply not tolerated. Plus, you 100% have to work on Christmas, which should be illegal.
- Working for an Iconic Founder
- Is it just me or does Santa’s workshop give off big ‘start-up that has a ping pong table and a keg in the kitchen but doesn’t pay a living wage and won’t let its workers unionize’ energy? Listen, we all love Santa and you can’t deny the impact of the business that he’s built in society. But he is essentially a cult leader. I don’t think working for an egomaniac who’s definitely not open to constructive criticism is a great idea.
Buddy The Elf’s Dad’s Publishing Company
Who knew the children’s book world was so cutthroat? Not me, that’s for sure. To be fair, I never really thought about it, but still. Very eye-opening.
- Charming coworkers
- Buddy’s dad’s secretary is an absolute treasure. And the writing staff, while bumbling fools, are really nice men. It would be such a nice place to work.
- Open Minded Publishing Model
- Maybe it’s nepotism, but they greenlit Buddy’s book about his journey as an elf. They also were considering a pitch about asparagus children who were insecure about the way their pee smelled. I’d read the hell out of that one.
- Dying Business in a Dying Industry
- Sadly, books aren’t exactly a booming business these days. And even if it was, execution is clearly not a priority at the company. They literally printed a book without the last 5 pages to save money. Who made that decision?
- Dealing with Diva Writers
- On a day to day basis, you will have to work with the likes of Miles Finch, a children’s book author who thinks he walks on water just because he owns houses in Los Angeles, Paris, and Vail (each one with a 70-inch plasma screen TV). Not worth it.
- Mean Boss Who Makes You Work on Christmas
- What the heck man? This boss was such a jerk. Thank god Walter Caan stood up to him at the end of the movie.
The Polar Express
One of the most magical trains in history. Probably the most magical train in history if I’m being honest. I know one thing’s for sure….it’s better than New Jersey Transit! Ahhh we have fun, we have fun.
- You Get to See the World
- Similar to a flight attendant, your job takes you to different parts of the world, as you shepherd children to the North Pole. It’s not totally clear if you get to depart the train and hang out for the night, but at least the views are stunning.
- Magic Galore
- Our current reality kind of sucks. It’d be awesome to escape it. Plus, magic is fucking sick. There’s no arguing that.
- Working with Snot-Nosed Kids
- You’re essentially a glorified babysitter who a bunch of spoiled brats who don’t believe in Christmas. There are several instances where children pull emergency brakes, climb on top of the train, and literally disconnect a traincar that gets sent hurtling towards Santa’s workshop. That is not just a nightmare, but an incredibly unsafe work environment.
- Forced to Participate in Musical Numbers
- It’s gotta be tricky to focus on shovelling coal with your boss Tom Hanks constantly coming by to involve you in some musical performance every 11 minutes. Not for me.
Barn Where Jesus Ended Up Being Born
Maybe this is technically from the “Bible” and not “a movie.” Fine. I’m sure there’s a movie about Jesus being born out there. Maybe Little Drummer Boy? I woke up kind of late this morning so didn’t have a ton of time to research it but let’s just go with it.
- Working with Your Hands
- Maybe it’s because I’ve been shackled by the handcuffs of Corporate America for most of my adult life, but I crave the feeling of putting in a hard day’s work at the barn, having a loaf of bread and some mead (or whatever people ate back then) at sundown, and calling it a night at like 9 pm since there’s no electricity and it’s dark as fuck.
- Playing a Hand in the Birth of One of the Most Important People in History
- Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is hard to underestimate the impact of Jesus on our planet today. We literally measure time in years since he was born. Even if you just set up the manger, you’ve now elevated your status from manual labor worker to history shaping icon. We stan.
- Unclear Role Definition
- So you’re a barn worker and on top of bailing hay and cleaning up cow shit, you’re also apparently an innkeeper and midwife? And let me guess – you’re not being paid extra for it at all? You’re just asked to be a team player and told by your boss that ‘we wear a lot of hats on this team?’ Time to update the barnworker resume ASAP and get a job at a place that appreciates you.
- You Work in A Barn
- Sorry to the barnworkers but that kind of sucks. Maybe it was a good job when Jesus was around in BC times but I’d probably pass on that gig nowadays.
Prime Minister’s Office in Love Actually
Probably the least realistic storyline in a movie full of unrealistic storylines is the romance between Hugh Grant, who plays the Prime Minister and his secretary. Can you imagine the scandal if the Prime Minister was caught kissing his secretary at his nephew’s Christmas play in the real world? The British tabloids would have a field day with this one.
- Handsome and Nice Boss
- Hugh Grant seems like an absolute delight to work for.
- Government Benefits
- Working for the government doesn’t pay great but you can’t beat the benefits. Sure, in the UK healthcare is free, but you also get a pension, holiday and sick pay and full maternity/paternity leave. Must be nice.
- Extremely Lax Office Dating Policies
- I guess the nice thing is, you’re the literal boss of the entire country so you can kind of just make up a rule that’s fine if you date your secretary, which ultimately benefits everyone in the office.
- Your Boss is Kind of a Little Bitch
- Sure, he stands up to Billy Bob Thornton, the big bad American president. But we all know that’s not going to last. If the fact that he is being assertive is a major plot point, you know he doesn’t exactly have the strongest spine. You want to be proud of your boss, not humiliated by him.