Meet the people working this Christmas Day.

Santa isn’t the only one busy on Christmas Day. While many of us tuck into a festive feast and spend time with the family on December 25, there is an army of workers for whom the day is business as usual.

The chef

If cooking the Christmas turkey fills you with dread, then spare a thought for Stephen Lech.

The Sydney chef will be serving up 1,000 hot meals on Christmas Day, including everything from pineapple and rum-glazed ham to Balmain bugs and oysters.

He said the spread was perfectly suited to families and included a chocolate fountain and more than one fruit mince pie.

But you won’t hear him complain about having to work on one of his busiest days of the year.

“Celebrating Christmas usually comes before or after Christmas,” he said.

“But we know that on the day it’s part of the hard work, part of our passion, part of being a chef and working in this industry.

“We share a meal after service, so we all sit down and have probably a glass of champagne.”

The tram driver

For “chatty” tram driver Kate Priest, Christmas Day is actually one of the most fun days to work.

The Melbournian said it was all about a subtle shift in mood from the passengers as they swapped the office for the family gathering.

“It’s good; it’s a relaxed atmosphere,” she said.

“You don’t have people rushing because they’ve got to go to work. They’re actually going somewhere that they want to go.

“You don’t have anyone going, ‘Oh you’re late!’ or, ‘Oh I want to get there and there’s traffic’.”

Kate said the free tram travel on Christmas Day also made it the best time to hop on for the first time and take the kids for a spin on the rails.

The firefighter

Kylie Evans has been a firefighter for 10 years, so she knows that sometimes the job has to come before a lot of other things, including Christmas lunch.

“When we apply to join the fire brigade we know it’s a shift-work job,” she said.

“And part of our job is just knowing sometimes we’re not available for special occasions — so Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, kids’ graduations.

“We just know that’s a part of what we have to sacrifice for the work we’re committing to for the greater good.”


And while the crew can be called to action at any time, they still try to treat themselves just a little bit on December 25 with a special meal and a little tree at the station too.

“We’ll just make sure that we share some spirit in some way because we’re missing out in other ways,” she said.

The zookeeper

Many people might feel like they’re at a zoo when the family comes around on Christmas Day, but for Ali Smith that’s right where she wants to be.

The Taronga Zoo zookeeper is in charge of making sure the lemurs get their Christmas treats and said it was all about spreading the cheer around.

“Believe it or not, all of our animals get Christmas treats,” she said.

“The spirit of Christmas is very alive at Taronga every single year.”

The lemurs are given pinecones stuffed with treats, or wreaths that encourage their foraging habits. But they’re not alone — all creatures great and small will receive some holiday pampering.

“All of our animals, all the way down from guinea pigs right up to our elephants and our giraffes will get some form of enrichment Christmas treat.”

The ABC cameraman

If you’re after some feel-good stories this holiday season, then December 25 is where you’ll find them, says camera operator Greg Waldemarsson.

The experienced ABC man hits the road early and finds you don’t have to look hard to find the Christmas cheer.

“Gosh I tell you, Christmas is a fantastic time to be working,” he said.

He joins up with a reporter and said the first stop is usually church, followed by a jaunt down to Bondi Beach to see the tourists enjoying some Aussie sun.

“Then after that we usually head out to a lot of charities,” he said.

“They make you feel so much better about yourself knowing that people are being looked after.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here