For most of us, Christmas Day is a pause in our regular routine, whether it’s as brief as the day or stretched over the course of several to travel and visit. The incessant barrage of emails will fall in direct proportion to the number of out of office messages set.

It’s not that we have free time, but the nature of our work will certainly be different. Some of us (or maybe just me) will be hastily wrapping last-minute gifts to slide under the tree. Others will be worried if the turkey will be fully thawed by the time it’s supposed to go in the oven. And some of us will bite our tongue when a distant relative brings up politics at the dinner table before the mashed potatoes have even made it to the other end.

Thankfully we’ll face these scenarios and countless others without the pressure of our day jobs, which for a short time will loom in the distance. Office work is on pause while we travel or tend our duties as hosts. Even though we may surreptitiously check our email after the stockings are opened, everyone else is preoccupied and there are hopefully no calls or urgent messages demanding a response.

Hopefully everyone will also get to steal some quiet moments, too. Maybe in the early afternoon after all the presents are opened and the dishes from Santa’s snack are cleared. Amidst the exhales and leisurely naps, take a brief second to reflect on those who aren’t afforded the same luxury of a pause.

Think about the police officers and fire fighters who are away from their families to ensure ours are safe, just like the doctors and nurses who are tending to the ill and anyone who suffers an acute misfortune. As you gather with family for a feast, remember the farmers and ranchers whose day didn’t start with stockings swaying from the mantle, but rising before dawn to feed livestock, check on water supplies or perform the same tasks for a neighbor.

It's because of the people who perform these jobs and others like them the rest of us are able to enjoy the safety and security within our homes, the comfort of knowing if we’re sick we’ll receive care and the food on our tables.

Customs and traditions passed from one family generation to another depend on an array of Christmas caretakers. Whether it’s the grandmother who knits a stocking for every grandchild, a grandfather who oversees the table during dinner or the sleep-deprived parents helping Santa deliver his presents. Everyone has a role to play in the creation of Christmas.

So, as you celebrate this year, give thanks for those caretakers who aren’t a part of your family, but certainly allow you to gather with peace of mind. And may we all enjoy the cheer of a very merry Christmas.