Whenever I interview sitter applicants, I always ask, "Are you ok working Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's?" because, frankly, we have to. There is no way around holiday travel, which inevitably leads to holiday sitting.
I left my job in the nonprofit sector in December 2009 to become a sitter and dog walker. The ONLY clients I got at that time were Christmas clients at a 45 minute commute away from home! I knew I was pursuing my calling to care for animals and that required a sacrifice on Christmas. I continued to make that sacrifice for the next couple of years up until I built a solid clientele for myself in Frederick. My incredibly understanding family would plan our celebrations around my work schedule, often celebrating Christmas a day or two after the 25th.
It was about two years ago that our client load starting busting at the seams and we had to put a moratorium on accepting new clients, especially holiday clients. It occurred to me (I can be a little slow sometimes!) that we don't have to take every single client who calls. That was a life changing realization!
Nevertheless, in this line of business, we cannot "just take Christmas off" like people in many other professions can, and it certainly isn't a paid holiday (we don't get those, either). What about the clients who use us year round? It's not their fault if they want to visit family for the holidays.
Here's the conclusion we came to: It is optional for us to take new clients over the holidays. If a sitter wants to take on new clients over the holidays, she can. Or, if family time is the priority, the only requirement is that she honors the clients who have already supported us year round. We split our loads so each of us works a little, and do our best to refer new client calls to sitters who need the business.
We SO appreciate the love and support you give us throughout the year. Without you, there is no Cat Lady! Please enjoy our gift to you of watching over your furry loved ones on special days, and let's all enjoy our family and friends.