It's not the season to make merry and put your feet up for everyone. Chrissie Russell talks to Ulster people who will keep the province ticking over during Christmas
'Celebrations can always lead to a call-out'
Fireman Alistair Chambers (35) is based at Belfast Central Fire Station on Ormeau Avenue
The decision about who's working Christmas just came down to the way the rota fell. I don't mind too much because I'm single and also you have to accept that it's the nature of the profession that the public expects the Fire and Rescue Service always to be ready to respond to a call.
There'll be 11 of us in on the day to man three machines, and it will probably be just like any other day. We'll work from 9am until 6pm, check the machines and equipment and do drills practice.
You never know if there'll be any call-outs or not, but with so much food being cooked and drink taken on Christmas Day it's always a possibility that there could be an alarm.
We've got a nice tree up in the station so there is a bit of Christmas spirit and, who knows, we may even have a bit of carol singing - although I'm not sure many of us have a great voice for it!
Once my shift's over I'm heading to my brother's house in the city's Rosetta, where his wife is cooking Christmas dinner. There's a fair chance they'll already have tucked in by the time I get there, but hopefully they'll save me something!
'You never know when accidents will happen'
Patricia McKeever (44), from Garvagh, is a staff nurse at Causeway Hospital A&E, Coleraine, and has been nursing for 23 years
I don't mind working Christmas day. I've done a lot of Christmas days in the past, although this is the first time I'll be doing a Christmas morning.
The last two Christmases have been fairly quiet, although there was one car accident and still enough to keep staff busy!
The schedule is dictated by the needs of the patient. It may be that a child has had an accident with one of their new presents or there could be an accident while people are travelling to see friends and family ... you just don't know.
Occasionally in the past we have had clients come in with minor conditions who felt they would get seen as we wouldn't be busy.
I'm in from 8am to 3pm, so I'll have a nice Christmas dinner in the hospital before heading home to my family and having another meal in the evening. My son is 20 now and still doesn't like me working Christmas, but he's getting used to it.
Staff at the hospital try to work shorter shifts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and try to take it in turns each year.
There are decorations and a tree in the department, but we need to be sensitive to the patients and not make them feel uncomfortable as no one wants to be in hospital over Christmas.
'Busman's holiday for ministers like me'
Canon Rev David McClay (47), of Willowfield Parish Church, east Belfast
Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the Church. We have a good turn-out on Christmas Day, but most work is done in the run-up to Christmas. Over the past few weeks, myself and other church workers have been doing lots of community work, we've given away 10,000 calendars in the parish and in local shopping centres, and we've been working at the continental market, offering prayer for different things.
We've held a whole spectrum of parties for senior citizens, helped organise a meal for minority groups and also been helping families and homeless people in need. I haven't been in until after midnight some nights - it really has been all go!
On Christmas Day itself there are two services, and the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I put quite a lot of time into the Christmas sermon and finish work about noon on Christmas day. Then I go home with my family to open the presents and have Christmas lunch.
Of course, you don't know what might happen during the day. Last year a man called at my door shortly after midday. His father had died and, of course, I spent the rest of the day with him and his family.
Even when I'm off work I'm still on duty.
'I have to stay switched on the whole time'
Jonny Morgan (31) lives in Crawfordsburn and has been working for Air Traffic Control at Belfast International Airport for 10 years
My boss broke it to me about a month ago that I would be working Christmas. I'm doing the night shift on Christmas Eve and the night shift on Christmas day - 9.45pm until 6.45am each night.
Who works on Christmas is decided by the way the roster falls.
When it becomes obvious which group of people that involves, we usually sit down and decide between us if there's anyone more deserving of having Christmas off.
Eventually it can come down to pulling names out of a hat or drawing straws.
This year (and last year) it was me that drew the short straw!
It's actually not too bad. I'll still get to have my Christmas dinner at home with my wife Emma, but I'll miss out on all the preparation, which can only be a good thing! It's better doing the night shift than the morning, because at least I'll get to spend most of the day at home, although by the time I've had a bit of a rest, I won't have time for breakfast - I'll be launching straight into the turkey.
At Air Traffic Control we're in charge of the safe and orderly expedition of air traffic over and out of Northern Ireland.
We're involved in descent profiles, directions and landings, so you have to be switched on the whole time.
I won't be able to start thinking about my Christmas dinner until it's set down in front of me.
Traffic usually calms down over Christmas Day, although I'll probably catch the tail end of the rush on Christmas Eve, with people travelling home last minute.
There's quite a festive atmosphere around the tower with the odd bit of tinsel round the corridors, a Christmas tree in the restaurant and cards from all the different airlines.
I'm sure it'll be a bit of an endurance test.
But after Christmas I'm off on leave for a couple of weeks so I'll just catch up on my celebrating then.