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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 11:25 GMT
Should shops open on Christmas Day?

Some shops opened on Christmas Day this year, but it could have been the last time that the bigger stores are allowed to stay open.

The government is promising to back The Christmas Day (Trading) Bill, put forward by Kevan Jones, the Labour MP for Durham North, and co-drafted with the shop workers' union Usdaw.

A spokesman for Usdaw said: "Our belief is that shop workers simply deserve the day off and it needs to be protected."

Under the law, any shop above 3,000 square feet or 915sq m will be forbidden from opening on Christmas Day from 2004.

Should large shops be allowed to open on Christmas Day? Did you visit any shops on Christmas Day this year? Send us your views.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your e-mails. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

If people can't organise themselves so that they don't run out of "essentials", then it's sad of them to expect shops to be open on Christmas Day for this purpose. This is a time for families to be together, not split up because mum or dad have to work in the shop so that selfish people can continue shopping. One day off in a year won't kill anyone!
Lell, UK, Notts

I know lets just close Christmas and that way all shops can open and then there no need for this legislation. Why o why cant Christmas be for families and not for greed, Christmas day and boxing day are days that i spend with family that I have not seen to much of in the past year. Please let's keep something special for our selves and not give it to any business for the sake of money. There is no need for any shops to be open blimey if you cant get by for two days without going shopping you have a problem that needs fixing!
Tom, England

Time with our families to enjoy Xmas is severely limited
David Garrod, Slough, England
As a large store employee I don't think people realise that we work extra hours Xmas eve and Boxing Day and in the run up to Xmas. And that we are denied holidays at this time of year and have to work. We are not allowed time off. Time with our families to enjoy Xmas is severely limited - why do people have an obsession to shop on Boxing Day and deny store workers a chance to enjoy all of Xmas? I believe stores should be closed on Boxing Day.
David Garrod, Slough, England

As a Christian I say they should be closed. As a person, I say - if they can find someone to work, then why not? If they cannot no-one should be forced to and the shop should be closed!
Richard T-J, Llanybydder, Wales

What's the problem? The answer is quite simple: Let the shops open on Christmas day if they want to, but only if they have enough staff who will voluntarily work. All staff in non-essential services should have the right to say "no thanks, I'll forfeit double-pay in favour of staying home" - and then quite simply, if a shop doesn't have enough workers who ARE willing to come in, they will not be able to open. The government should have nothing to do with it - let people decide for themselves.
Chris, London, UK

Well I don't mind having Christmas day off, but I don't see why it's only Christian holidays that get celebrated (note that it is illegal to open on Easter Sunday as well). If people are willing to work given their religious orientation then I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be allowed to.
Adrian, Stamford, England

I was sooo upset Christmas day when I realised I had no hair gel, and no where was open anywhere. Essentials should be for pharmacies and important food supplies.
Rich H, UK

It is ok saying shops shouldn't be open on Christmas day, what about the people who have to work Christmas day some of us don't have a say in the matter, people who say it is a time for family and celebrations are not on this planet, I have worked at the same place for nine years and I have had to work for six of them on Christmas day! People talking about triple time, what a laugh, people who want board members to staff shops, yes another laugh, I am part of an essential service I don't get a choice in this matter, anybody bothered, probably not, talk about slavery come and do my job then!
s Connor, England

Yes, I feel that shops should open on Christmas day because I feel that it is unfair that the rest of the world who do not celebrate this day have to put their lives on hold because hardly anything is open. Furthermore, the world does not close down for the Muslims and the Jews on their holidays. I thus feel this is unnecessary and most of all unjust.
Amani Bailey, MD-USA

Shops should not open on Christmas Day nor on Boxing Day. Bosses seem to be driven by the Great God PROFIT throughout business today. It is time to halt this selfishness. I have no axe to grind on religious grounds as I belong to no religion
S. Haggerstone, bucks

Shops should be closed on all Bank Holidays
Brian W, Chelmsford, UK
Shops should be closed on all Bank Holidays. Christmas day and Boxing day would be a start. Anyone with the least bit of common sense can manage for one or two days without retail therapy.
Brian W, Chelmsford, UK

I believe that all retail businesses should be made to close at Christmas. It's all greed and encourages people to spend more money, often on credit
Mrs.K.P.Lawrence, Telford Shropshire

Christmas is a bank holiday like any other and we don't need more mamby pamby legislation from this government on how to run our lives. If shops want to open and people want to shop why should we stop them? No one can be forced to work on a bank holiday but some people are forced to take bank holidays WITHOUT pay. This is a far more important issue worthy of legislation.
James, Basildon Essex

Opening shops on Christmas day and over the festive period is all about Greed and Consumerism. The pressure of shops trying to get that extra sale. For once lets put people first and the family. And not big businesses trying to tempt us with more dodgy plastic bag filled furniture. Ban Shopping from the 24th to the 2nd of Jan. This will not cause any disruption which cannot be avoided. Let a Christmas holiday be that for everyone; a holiday. Most employers would force employees to work Christmas day if they could get away with it. Most employees don't get the choice.

People who want to have Christmas Day off to spend with their families should be entitled to. But those who want to work shouldn't be forced to take the day off. Some of them may want to save their holiday allowance for a time which is more convenient. And what about those in the emergency services? Will they get the same protection?
Rob Griffiths, UK

I like shopping on a Sunday; I use up time that would be normally wasted. The only problem I see is that shop assistants may be obligated to work when normally they may rest.
Paul CampoViejo, Mold, FlintShire

What right does the government have to "ban shopping" on a specific day? Surely no store would be open on a day if there are no customers around. I believe many are using Christmas as an excuse to justify their own laziness.
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

Keep the stores closed, and respect the birth of Christ. Commercialism has to take a break, enough is enough. I know some people do not celebrate Christmas but it is time to stop catering to the minorities and respect religious beliefs
Catherine Emmett, Greenock Scotland

It's simple, if you choose to open your business on Christmas day it should be up to you to choose. If you wish to go shopping at one of these places then that it also up to you to choose. If you choose not too open your business or go shopping, that is also your choice. If someone else shops whilst I rest on Christmas day what difference has it made to me? I have had the Christmas day I choose, simple.
Mr brooks, UK

Banning shopping on what is the most coveted and precious day of the year is a good first step
Craig, Canada
Banning shopping on what is the most coveted and precious day of the year is a good first step - I can't believe that anyone would want to open up shop on Christmas Day!!! (even in North America they are still closed that day so they can be with their families) Now they should make it so that all other holidays, as well as Sundays, are limited to the necessary retailers (i.e. some pharmacies, corner stores) with the owners and managers operating them.
Craig, Canada

Is this a Christian country or not? No shops should be open on Christmas day. Are we so obsessed with making and spending money that we must sell and buy on this day or Boxing day? And still the credit card debt rises.
Wendy, UK

I see fair arguments made on either side of this debate. There are some who make religious points, others are speaking out against big businesses abusing staff, and others who oppose over-legislation. The only important concern though is - do enough people want to go shopping on Christmas Day? I can't believe there would be sufficient demand to justify the cost of opening and additional wage bill for incentivising staff to show up. Let market forces prevail, which will no doubt mean shops will remain closed. (Hopefully except my Sainsbury's local that saved my bacon last Christmas when I ran out of wine!)
James, Ontario, Canada

Of course they shouldn't! Xmas day is a day of rest, where families join together and spend the day celebrating Christmas. It's not about going to the shops and hunting down the best bargains!
Robert Jones, Shrewsbury, England

I think it is a good idea that some shops are open. There are some people with no families or friends out there and Christmas day can be a very long day when you are alone. Going shopping can be a help to these people. There are a lot of people who due to religion etc are happy to work this day.
Maureen Messmarri, Manchester, England

I don't think that shops should be open on Christmas day because it is a time for family and celebrations
Claire Stewart, Portsmouth

Close all big stores. Christmas is a day to be with loved ones and to remember a certain someone's birthday. That's what is should be about. Small corner shop owners could open but only the owners should work. No employees unless offered triple time, plus a day off in luau.
Scott Wallace, UK/JAPAN

No one is going to force people to go shopping on Christmas day, so shops should have the choice.
Toby Cave, UK

Ban 'profit taking' on Christmas day. Stores can open so long as all proceeds go to their workers. Also as a token gesture by the fattest cat of all maybe the day should be 'tax free' as well.
B Essada, UK

It's not what we think that counts. It's what the shop workers think that should be the only argument taken into account.
Joe RYAN, Chartres, France

As a nurse, I am happy to work over Christmas and New Year. These services, as are the emergency services, essential. I fail to see the need for shops and non essential workforces to go to work and spoil or limit their enjoyment of Christmas, purely because of the GREED of shop and supermarkets these days. Christmas has already become about money and how much an individual gets at Christmas, how about looking at the real meaning of Christmas?
Glynis Jenkins,

People who wish to shop on Christmas Day are incredibly selfish
Stewart, Toronto, Canada
No, they shouldn't be open. It wouldn't take too long before Shops coerced staff to work on Christmas Day, just like they do Sundays now. Retail staff have to work every other bank holiday. Let them have the day off, they get poorly paid as it is. In the UK, Christmas is Traditional, keep it that way. People who wish to shop on Christmas Day are incredibly selfish.
Stewart, Toronto, Canada

Sorry, but we complain about the commercialisation of the season, I love Christmas, so yes, ALL shops should be closed on the 25th and 26th. It is the little people at the end of this while the bigwigs are at home with their family and friends
Glen Banyard, Cambridgeshire

Surely living as we do in a multicultural society it is time we took the Christian element out of Christmas. After all the shops do not close on the religious days of other sections of the community. Closing of shops might well cause inconvenience to ethnic minorities.
M. Wilson, UK

What a farce, bigger stores over x sq feet!! Either close the lot (Not my choice) or open the lot (my choice). Otherwise we end up with off-licences and video shops (etc - small) open and DIY for example closed (big). No basis on morals, religion or workers rights. Look at the proposals people, don't let the smokescreen distract. P.S. Is the Durham MP a small shopkeeper?
Russ H, Donegal, Ireland

Ban Christmas in shops until 1srt December and finish it on the 24th. No shopping at all ANYWHERE allowed 25th and 26th December. Then we can truly get back to what Christmas is all about
Kevin Munn, Hayes UK

The mandatory closing of bigger stores is long overdue. I believe Boxing Day should be included within the legislation. The other option is let them open but be staffed by board members and their families only.
Jeff, Milton Keynes United Kingdom

In my view point it would be better for the shops to be opened on Xmas days in order to enable the people to easily buy their special gifts and some other essential items for their sweethearts.
Shafi, Kabul Afghanistan

So the staff go to work whilst the owners have a day off? One step from slavery.
Jim, UK

Years ago, even pubs were not allowed to open on Christmas Day
Richard, England
Of course all shops and garages should be closed on Christmas Day. We have been a Christian country for over 1,500 years and shops etc have not needed to open so why start now? People should be able to cope with shops being shut for one day without moaning. Many people actually want to celebrate Christmas properly. If we were living in non-Christian countries, then we would expect to have to live by their religious holidays. Years ago, even pubs were not allowed to open on Christmas Day.
Richard, England

Our desire, and quest, for material matters, overrides our wisdom, and we need to consider that 'retail therapy' is not the answer.
Robert Goodman, Cardiff. Wales

The proposed ban would only affect large stores who have had plenty of chance to make a few bob in the run up to Christmas and will undoubtedly be expecting some workers to come in to get ready for the Sales. Give the workers a day off and let there be one day a year when we appreciate the good old corner shop.
Gilly, Leeds

It's not just shoppers and shop workers who are affected here. What about people living near shops putting up with the traffic and noise. Transport workers after all it's unfair that only those with cars can shop. Car park staff etc. My view would be to keep all our Sunday and bank holidays special and quiet. Those on their own should be invited to join families with room.
Richard, UK

I see no valid reason for shops to open on Christmas day as it is one day of the year when all the population should be able to celebrate, if not a Christian festival, then at least a day off from the frantic rush to spend money they haven't got on things they don't need. Why not just shut all the shops as I'm sure if you haven't got it by Christmas eve then do without. The emergency services have to work but the shops aren't in any way vital.
Jackie Walder, Medway Kent

I think all shops should be banned from opening on Christmas day and Boxing day. I work for a well-known chain store and they are coercing and blackmailing staff to work on Boxing Day. I finish work at 18.30 Xmas eve and should be back at work at 09.00 Boxing Day - this is no break for anyone. I have two small children who will see next to nothing of me except on Xmas day.
KH, Southampton Hampshire

Why not? - if shop owners want to open and employees are prepared to work, let them open whenever they like.
Nigel Pond, Brit living in the USA

We can't seem to cope without all the namby-pamby trimmings of 21st century life
Robbie, UK
Can't live without a shop being available every second of every day. Can't live without 24 hours TV & Radio. Can't live without a mobile phone. Can't live without a computer. Can't cope with an electricity outage. Well, less than 30 years ago we did, and somehow all lived to tell the tale. This country has gone soft, and we can't seem to cope without all the namby-pamby trimmings of 21st century life. Heaven help us if we ever have to!
Robbie, UK

Can you imagine the staff of a department store being forced in to working Christmas Day, let's face it, that's what would happen. If the store owners were to donate half of their Xmas day profits to charity, that's a different matter but no, they are simply lining their own pockets again at the expense of the already over-worked staff at this time of year.
B Hughes, Paisley

I understand that we are now an extremely diverse country but we are seriously at risk of losing our culture and traditions, whether religious or not. I'm a Buddhist myself but believe that some traditions should stay exactly as they are. A tree without roots has no chance of survival and that goes for us as well.
Steve, England

Yes, they should be open. I am an international student and when I first came to UK we didn't know that the shops would be closed for two days. As you expected we had bread and biscuits for two days. Won't it be a bit selfish to close the shops only for those who want to relax? Shops should be open and if people think Christmas should be a day for family and friends then they can stay at home. For those who do want to go shopping it will be more fair.
C Wang, Cambridge

One day closed out of 365 is no big loss to the shoppers
Liz, Manchester, UK
No they shouldn't open on Christmas Day. If there are things that people still haven't bought it's tough!! They have all year to get organised and if there are things they still haven't got then it's their own fault. It's a family day of celebration and for those who don't celebrate Christmas, it's still a day of rest in this 24 hour society. One day closed out of 365 is no big loss to the shoppers.
Liz, Manchester, UK

I wish shops were allowed to open on Xmas Day. Not everyone has family to go to and some people are forced to stay at home alone and it is miserable. Going to the shops can help cheer you up!
Vic James, UK

For those people who must shop on Christmas Day there will be thousands of online stores open so you can shop at the same time as you are eating your Christmas dinner!
Paul Daniels, Kettering

A vicious circle that will inevitably end up with a lot of things never closing
Tim Webber, Sheffield
Sadly we face a creeping 24/7/365 lifestyle. My company's clients are open late and on Christmas Eve so we must be too. That means I expect services to be open late so I can do my shopping, and their staff need to go shopping at some point and so it goes. A vicious circle that will inevitably end up with a lot of things never closing.
Tim Webber, Sheffield

I don't understand the logic here. Significant numbers of UK citizens do not celebrate Christmas. Christmas day is a Bank Holiday, so staff cannot be forced to work on it, and those that choose to, get paid extra. Nobody is forced to shop on Christmas Day either.
Graham, Witney, UK

Shops shouldn't open Christmas Day. Isn't it enough that shop workers have given up Boxing Day? They should have one day over the Christmas period to be with their families. Living close to Thurrock Lakeside, I would fully support a Christmas Day trading ban.
Kelly, Stanford le Hope, Essex

No, whether Christian or not there is benefit for the whole nation in taking time to stop and take some quiet time. We have forgotten how to be quiet and content.
Kate Dawson, Bedford, UK

I didn't vote this government in to decide which days I can and can't shop. Believe it or not, I can, and would prefer, to make that choice myself. We've already got too many laws that take away freedom of choice, as consumers or suppliers.
Bob, Stratford, UK

Of course shops should be allowed to open on Xmas Day, and on every other day come to that. We are not all Christians! Why not take the eight bank holidays we currently have and add them to employees' annual leave, to be taken when they like - religious people can take them on whatever religious holidays they like, and us atheists can take them when the sun is shining.
Nik Macve-Southwood, Devon, UK

This is the consumer society gone mad
S Horberry, Hull, UK
This is the consumer society gone mad, has everyone forgotten what Christmas is about? I'm not particularly a religious person but I am fed up with the pressure placed upon us to spend, spend, spend till we drop. I remember back to childhood Christmases and remember the silence of the town it was magical we have ample opportunity to get what we need, I've been slowed down this year by loosing the end of my finger and not being able to drive but I got everything I needed and will not step foot inside another shop until the new year.
S Horberry, Hull, UK

SO, all you multi-cultural, non-Christian people who think shops should be open on Xmas day will be sitting at your desks in the office on 25th and 26th Dec? Thought not....
Stephanie, Surrey, UK

Having worked for a major retailer in the past, I'm well aware of how these stores "force" employees to work days such as Sundays and public holidays. Despite what your religious beliefs are, Christmas is a time for goodwill to all. Fair enough, the emergency services, etc, have to work, but no one plans to have an accident, etc, and, besides, you've had 350-odd days to shop since last Christmas!
Paul, Glasgow, Scotland

As we live in a multi-faith society is it really necessary for any discussion? Each religion has its own holidays so surely shops can open with staff who aren't celebrating that particular festival. Or am I being overly simplistic here?
Dom, London

I think that the big stores should definitely be closed on Christmas day. This way, it sets a precedent that Christmas day should not be allowed to become just another ordinary day. If a few smaller shops choose to open then people can still pick up gifts/groceries in an emergency.

I am not a religious person but I think it is desirable to have a day when as many people as possible can have a day off to spend with their friends and family. Obviously there are people who need to work on Christmas day such as health workers, police etc., but large shops do not need to be open.
Helen, Exeter, UK

Opening shops on Xmas day is non essential. People can go without shopping for two days, it will do them no harm. Emergency services is a different matter, even though Xmas is the time to have the family together, people still need looking after in hospitals, and people will still set fire to their homes, so there is a need for some people to work. The shops only close for one day, lets keep it that way.
Adrian, Nottingham

Living in a city, Sunday used to be a nice day to be able to walk round without crowds and just see the buildings and enjoy the silent city. Now Christmas is the only opportunity we have to do this, and it is still too much for some. Don't focus on the fact that we are having a Christian celebration imposed on us - Lets just enjoy a national day off to bring us together.
John, UK

We live in a multi-cultural society and as a non-Christian I'd be happy to shop on Christmas Day. A number of my local shops are open on Christmas Day as they are run by non-Christian families. Large shops should be allowed to open providing the staff are paid well (double or triple time) and they are willing to work on Christmas. We live in a population that is becoming increasingly secular. I keep my own religious festivals and Christians should be allowed to keep theirs but nobody's forcing them to shop just because the shops are open.
Dan, London, UK

I was very grateful that a petrol station was open on Christmas Day after being unexpectedly invited to join some friends - petrol to get there and choccies as a gift. If I'd had an accident while driving I would certainly expect the hospital and recovery services to be available. As for Sunday opening - my personal choice would be to have Saturday as my day off after a week at work and then do all the shopping etc on Sunday.
Mary, Wigston, UK

If shops want to open and they can get the staff then let them. They may not find it very cost effective though
Daniella How, Guildford
As I am not a Christian (as with a large portion of the population) Xmas is more of a nuisance than anything else. If shops want to open and they can get the staff then let them. They may not find it very cost effective though. One thing is a definite must though; staff should not be forced to work Xmas day or Boxing day and they should be paid properly for it.
Daniella How, Guildford

Has everyone forgotten the meaning of Christmas? It's the one time of the year where families get together and there is love. These large shops miss the point and all they are really worried about is trying to make as much money as possible! The meaning of Christmas will be lost if they are allowed to be open.
Fraser Roxburghe, St. Andrews

Shops wouldn't bother opening on any particular day if there weren't any customers willing to shop. If people are wanting to shop on Christmas Day, it says a lot about British Society today.
Pete, Malvern, UK

It's ironic that Christmas Day is the only day the shops are closed, since it has now become the main festival of our unacknowledged state religion of Consumerism. Give it ten years, it will be compulsory to go shopping on Christmas Day!
John, Oxford, UK

Dear heavens, please open the shops 365 days a year, so we can avoid the spectacle of 300 crazed people in every supermarket across the UK, buying 16 pints of milk and 10 loaves on Xmas eve, just to make sure they can survive Xmas day and boxing day! Listen people the shops will open again on 27th, you are not going to starve or get snowed in, JUST STOP PANIC BUYING!!
George Johnson, London, UK`

In this day and age why are some people still putting 'shopping' before 'people'? You've got 364 days a year to buy presents - I'm sure you can manage without whining. Religion or no religion, families need this time, big corporations don't.
Darren Richards, Birmingham

People saying that no one should work on Christmas Day forget that shop workers aren't the only ones doing so. Hospital staff? TV employees? Utilities workers? However, this proposed law only applies to large stores where, let's face it, employees are more likely to be coerced. Small family-based stores, often run by non-Christian families, can make their own choices on this and can provide a valuable service (see post below regarding nappy consumption!).
Katherine, London, UK

Please let this legislation go through. Big retailers seem to want to treat workers like slaves, and the public as cash cows. I hope that some decency prevails and that greedy businesses have at least one set back in their quest for complete domination of our lives. It's bad enough being bombarded with "sale" adverts for Boxing Day, even listening to The Queen and granny snoring is surely better than a rush to the shops after Xmas lunch?
Pete, UK, Devon

Christmas is for families, not retailing. Christmas in commercial enough, without having shops open on the day itself. If you can't be organised to have everything you need, so as not to have to shop on the 25th, then you really need help.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

When are we going to finally link the ability to spend money 24/7 with the unsurmountable levels of consumer debt
AJ, Wakefield, UK
No. Keep them shut. When are we going to finally link the ability to spend money 24/7 with the unsurmountable levels of consumer debt? However, spare a thought for those who have to work, nurses, doctors, restaurant, pub and hotel staff, the uniformed services, the list goes on. My kids won't see much of their mum this Christmas, she'll be working as a Psychiatric Nurse.
AJ, Wakefield, UK

The answer to this is simply about choices. If retailers have employees that wish to work on Christmas day, I believe the answer should be yes.
Mark Pittman, Scotland

Shops should stay closed as Christmas is a family time. We need to halt this commercialism somehow, just as we should stop selling Easter eggs on the 2nd January. By de-valuing the holiday it will cease to be special. The only pointers to where we are up to in the calendar will be the weather. We can all remember the magic as a child when Christmas finally arrived again, and even though some of us got very bored at home with the family, it did give us family time together which is far more important than going shopping - who knows it may even help lower divorce rates a bit!
Tanya, Reading, Berks

No way! Shop staff have enough to put up with in the run up to Christmas, so the least the Government can do is to give them Christmas Day and Boxing Day off and make it compulsory!

Only local shops should be allowed to open on Christmas Day. The quality of family life has dropped since Sunday shopping came in. Its so nice in Bavaria to see shops closed and people out walking together on a Sunday.
Paul, UK

Of course shops should shut on Christmas Day because it IS a Christian holiday - just as other countries such as India and Pakistan respect their own religious holidays England should be allowed to respect theirs.
Dawn, Poole, UK

We are given bank holiday's for a reason, to have time off work so let's keep it that way. There is a lot of pressure put on employees to do that extra mile, and what for?
Marie, Sharpness, UK

I think that all stores should be closed for at least four days over the Christmas period for the shop workers have time with their families.
Lesley box, Hove, Sussex

How empty these words are about our multi-cultural and multi-faith country. Anyone who has the slightest sensitivity to other cultures and faiths must also show respect for their traditions first and foremost. This is a predominantly Christian nation - do not let the faithless and the uncultured destroy its traditions; let those from other faiths and cultures see and rejoice in them, as do we in theirs.
Philip, London

We would not need to shop on Sundays or even Christmas day if we had more time away from work. Who cares what religion you believe in, lets get away from this want want want society and have some fun.
Mark, Warrington

It should be up to the employer to decide whether they want to open their shop on Christmas day. if no staff want to work on that day (they would rather stay with their families) then they shouldn't be forced to work, it should be treated like any other working day like all bank holidays should be.
Chris White, Tonbridge, Kent

I personally would like to see all shops closed on Christmas Day. It is after all only one day of the year. Why do people need shops open every hour of every day?
Martin, Luton, England.

I personally would love to see stores closed on Christmas because of my religious beliefs
Randy, Denver USA
It is fascinating to me to see that this is an issue in Britain. I personally would love to see stores closed on Christmas because of my religious beliefs. I would be astonished however, to find out that the British government would have the authority to restrict the hours of operation of any business for reasons based on religion. The argument that shop workers deserve a day off would be afforded by different laws in the United States.
Randy, Denver USA

No no no. Everybody needs a day off. Let's keep at least one day in the year special. We'll survive without the shops.
Anna, Bristol, England

Shops should not open on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. There is no need for shop workers, who are poorly paid as it is, to work on those days. They should have that time with their families.
Sally Lister, Gloucester, England

Shops should not be allowed to open on Christmas Day! Shopworkers get little enough time with their families as it is!
Noele Butler, Burton on Trent, England

Absolutely, Christmas ought to be a day when we can ALL stay off work, not just those not in hospitability. My sister HAS to work Christmas day, new year's eve and new year's day - not much of a holiday is it?
Tom, England

I was very grateful for a petrol station shop being open on Christmas Day a couple of years ago when I ran out of nappies. In my twenties, I would have been happy to have worked Christmas, as I found the family 'do' not my thing. BUT - how many of us trust the big stores to not intimidate their staff into working when they really don't want to. We don't need the big stores open, little ones for emergency supplies yes, but can we NOT shop for just one day out of 365?
Janice, Leamington Spa, UK

We the working British public work too many hours in an average working week as it is
Sarah Baxter, Nottingham, England
No shops should not be allowed to open on Christmas Day. We the working British public work too many hours in an average working week as it is. The government needs to start looking after the hard working tax payers of this country, far better than they do at present.
Sarah Baxter, Nottingham, England

I think that shops SHOULD open on Christmas day. What if you lost one of your Christmas presents? Imagine the embarrassment if you had forgotten to get your best friend a present. What if your turkey went stale? Shops need to be open for these last minute emergencies. Even if the shop workers did lots of shifts it would mean that these last minute problems could be solved. I think it is an absolute outrage that people have to deprive themselves from shopping on the best day of the year. Christmas is a time for celebration and shopping is the ultimate way to celebrate. I rest my case.
Miranda Huckleberry, Aberdeen

Shops should be closed. Is nothing sacred anymore? God help us all.
Pat Fleming, Dumfries and Galloway

I would love to be able to work on Xmas day (and Boxing Day too) and take two days off in lieu another time (don't even bother about double/triple time if I can get the days off) when there's actually something I can do with my time rather than just sit around at home doing nothing, but can't because our office isn't open. Mind you, getting into central London on 25th might be a bit tricky...Tube anyone?
Kevin Perry, London

I used to work in a restaurant and I didn't see any of the people sitting in eating their Xmas dinner complaining about workers rights! For my end I got very well paid so was happy to work. Shops should be allowed to open but as with other areas of employment law no-one should be forced and the shops as with catering pay double or triple time.
Helen, Newcastle, UK

Christmas these days is all about profit, so let's not help them
Derran, Wales
No, not at all. Christmas these days is all about profit, so let's not help them. In my opinion we should have the 24th, 25th and 26th off. My kids would love to spend time with me over Christmas but most Christmas's I work. Try and make them understand that!
Derran, Wales

I would not mind going to the shops on Christmas day, if I was safe in the knowledge that the employees were getting triple time at least. That would put up all the prices, so what's the point! Keep them shut! Mind you, when my son was two months old, he got through a whole pack of nappies in one Christmas morning. I was so glad to find the local corner shop open on that Christmas day!
Andy Barber, Crystal Palace, London

Shops should not shut for a Christian holiday just as they should not shut for Muslim or Jewish holidays. If we must have a public holiday take the religion out of it.
Karen, USA (UK Expat)

Of course they should. Until the early 60s most businesses in Scotland worked a half day on Christmas Day. Scotland has never had restrictions on shops trading on Sundays and we still have a higher rate of church attendance than England. By all means ensure that no-one is compelled to work on Christmas Day but if there are volunteers willing to work and customers willing to shop, it is ridiculous to try to stop them.
Stephen, Edinburgh

I think all shops should be allowed to open during all religious festivals. However employers shouldn't be allowed to force staff to work during one of their festivals. I.e. Christians get Easter and Christmas off and likewise. Bit unlucky of us atheists but we'll just claim triple-pay for everything
Martin, England

Let the people decide. Devout Christians - take the day off and remember not to go shopping.
Bill Kearney, London

I worked in retail in the UK for many years. The hours got longer the bank holiday closings few and far between. The one holiday that should remain fast is Christmas day. Regardless of religion it is a TRADITION in the UK and should remain so. Adding Boxing Day too should be re-introduced
Heather, USA ex UK

Then we can have a 365 days, 24 hrs a day economy. Whoopee for business
P K Beech, Manchester, UK
Hell why not? First Sundays, then bank holidays now Christmas day. Then we can have a 365 days, 24 hrs a day economy. Whoopee for business. Tough for anyone who is TOLD to work eh? After all it's our fault. Sick days, holidays, maternity leave, overtime rates, are all to blame for companies not maximising profits. Do away with the lot. Let us work 10 hour days 7 days a week, after all making profits for our caring corporations is all there is to life, isn't it? Then when I retire at 70 or even 75 by then, I can look back on a life of scraping by, but at least my boss had a good life.
P K Beech, Manchester, UK

I think all shops should be allowed to open on Christmas day....BUT the only staff allowed to work in the shops on that day should be middle and upper management...I doubt then we would see many shops open!
Peter Hewett, Toronto Canada

No. No. No. Leave us alone for one day, please!
Richard, Bristol

Christmas is too commercialised already; few "choose" to work on Christmas Day-most are "persuaded" to by bosses, for precious little reward. Why not put aside our selfish commercial values on this special day?
Rob Bennett, Nantwich, Cheshire

In a multi-cultural and multi-faith society why impose a ban on everyone for a Christian holiday? Not everyone is religious so why impose a band on everyone? Those who want to work a bank holiday should be allowed, those who shun it should draw the curtains and stay indoors.
Duncan, Salisbury, UK

No they should not be allowed to open. When I used to work in retail, I was forced to work over Xmas one year for no extra pay. We can all cope without shopping for a couple of days and it's not fair on the staff who would rather be at home with their friends watching rubbish telly like everyone else. The bosses of these stores sit at home with their families rubbing their hands while the underpaid teenagers keep the tills ringing so let them have a break.
Nathalie R, London

Shops wishing to open should pay triple-time and working on that day should be optional. Though 'optional' is likely to be redefined in terms of career progression. Managers and HR will be keeping an eye out for those who do work and anyone who wants the day off will be labelled as 'undependable', and probably also 'not a team player'.
Doctor Henry W, London

There are many non-Christians in the country for whom Christmas doesn't carry the same significance
H Brydone, Edinburgh UK
I don't believe anyone should be forced to work over Christmas if they do not wish too. Essential services being an obvious exception. However there are many non-Christians in the country for whom Christmas doesn't carry the same significance. Isn't it unethical to prevent non-Christians from working, effectively forcing a religious holiday on them? If we force a religious holiday on non-Christians is there not an obligation on society to observe non-Christian dates of religious significance? Perhaps we can look forward to many more public holidays in the future then!
H Brydone, Edinburgh UK

I welcome the decision for various businesses to open on Christmas day. Why should employers, employees and consumers be prevented from living their lives by the rules of a religion they choose to not follow? Forcing people to take holidays is undemocratic, draconian even.
Luke I, Hull UK

NO! I do not think that anyone should work on Christmas Day, let's get back to basics!
Teresa Cook, Walsall

I don't think people should be forced to work but if they want to, why not let them? Seriously, I want to work, my employer wants me to work, enough people want to visit to make it worthwhile opening so what reasons are there left? I'd rather take a different day off when there is something decent on the telly.
John, London, UK

No. It's not fair on the staff who are probably pressurised to run the shops. Let people enjoy the Christmas break.
Mia, Aylesbury

Yes of course they should. People don't stop needing things on public holidays, and there are plenty of people prepared to work on Christmas and New Years, so what's the problem? Sunday opening hours should be the same as any other day too.
Mark, Rugby

Surely we can all survive for a couple of days without the need to go out and spend even more money.
Simon, Lincoln

It is not fair on the members of staff to force them to work on this day
Simon, UK
I think that shops should be shut on Christmas Day, having been forced to work last Christmas at a major retailer (I won't say which one). I can say it is not fair on the members of staff to force them to work on this day, I was actually threatened with my job if I did not work Christmas Day, and it was no secret a lot of others had been as well. So not only is it wrong, most of the staff are bullied into having to work on what is a holiday and a religious one at that.
Simon, UK

No. Christmas is a religious holiday and not a period of commercial exploitation.
Christian, Richmond, UK

No, and yes we are a multi-cultural multi-ethnic multi-religious society so why should we follow a historical Christian precedent. The other part of the discussion is why not close and I for one would love just for one day a year for the commercialism of the world to be set aside in preference of some basic humanist ideals such as good will to all.
David McCann, London

Shops should close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. In addition, shops should close on a Sunday. However, did we all manage when this did happen - well we just did! Greedy fat cats is the only reason why they are open.
Sue, Doncaster

I have to say that my family has found it useful in the past to have the smaller shops open, but I think really they should be forced to close. Christmas Day is the second holiest Christian festival and people should remember we are a Christian country after all.
Richard, UK

Richard claims we are a Christian country and therefore should recognise Christmas. Apart from the fact that Christmas is a hijacked pagan festival, there are tens of millions of people in this country who do not celebrate Christmas or as a Christian festival. The law needs to protect people who don't want to work on December 25th but should not stop them if they want to.
John Harding, Lancaster, England

Christmas Day and New Year's Day are national holidays and should be so for everyone. No large stores should be allowed to open on those days.
JohnM, LyneMeads, UK

Surely the shopaholic British public can manage for two days without shops being open?
Pat Nalder, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Shops shouldn't open on Christmas Day or on Boxing Day. The period leading up to Christmas must be very stressful and tiring for anyone working in retail. They deserve a rest. Surely the shopaholic British public can manage for two days without shops being open?
Pat Nalder, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

If they are so desperate to make money and 'serve the public' then let the senior management and directors work the tills on Christmas day.
Mike, Middlesbrough, England

The government should be encouraging successful retailers not putting obstacles in their path.
Paul Jones, Hessle, E Yorks, UK

Christmas Day trading ban planned
22 Dec 03  |  Business


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