Hospitality staff mark Christmas with ‘warm, friendly family’ of co-workers

The energy at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel over the holidays isn’t one of gloom and loneliness

Oak Bay Beach Hotel conference services co-ordinator Anouk Fitzner appreciates the shifting her family does to celebrate Christmas around her work.

The energy at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel over the holidays isn’t one of gloom and loneliness. Events and family dinners fill the holidays and guests return each year to enjoy the glamour of a seaside Christmas. So much so that staffers don’t seem to mind working the big days.

Christian Sealey, food and beverage manager at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, plans to have an early Christmas morning with his three year old and family this Dec. 25. Then he heads to work for the third consecutive Christmas Day at the hotel.

“The first year was an adjustment,” he says. Previously Sealey worked at privately owned restaurants, where a closure was in order to celebrate holidays. “It was a little strange … for the first time I wasn’t holed up at home with my family playing games, eating and drinking.”

Working Christmas Day does require more planning on his part, but the energy at work turns out to be worth it.

“It was a really great energy,” Sealey says. “It’s a team here, everyone was legitimately happy to be here.”

“It’s good, everyone’s generally in a good mood,” agrees Taylor Holme, valet captain. “Lots of people come and stay because we have breakfast with Santa and carolling.”

Holme had last Christmas off but works both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this holiday season.

“Some of my team have kids and stuff,” he says. “I’m more than willing to work that time to open it up for other people.”

So he readily agrees to delay his celebrations with family in Vancouver. “I try and set up another day they can come over or I go back.”

This year, he plans to make the trip over on Boxing Day to connect with family in Vancouver before heading to the warmer climate of Mexico the next day.

Anouk Fitzner, conference services coordinator, describes the atmosphere as a “warm, friendly family” and she’s worked three of her four holidays at Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

“Although I’m missing family, it’s very nice, because the staff is like a family here and you have regulars that come back every year,” Fitzner says.

Her working the statutory holiday highlights the spirit of giving from her family, and gratitude on her part.

 

“Both my family and my husband’s family move their Christmas so I can be there,” she says. “They’ve done that every year for me. I really appreciate it because it alters their Christmas.”