Poll: Will your AP be on-duty on Christmas?

by cv harquail on December 18, 2008

Hi Moms-

I’m testing out a new feature  — polls!

I’d love to get a sense of what everyone is planning for their au pair on Christmas day…. Given the percent of American families that celebrate Christmas  —  (according to the Associated Press , Gallup polls from 1994 to 2005 consistently show that more than 90 percent of adults say they celebrate Christmas, including 84 percent of non-Christians!) it is likely that either-

Your au pair celebrates Christmas and you don’t, You celebrate Christmas but she doesn’t, or You both celebrate Christmas.

But the big question is– are you going to have your Au Pair be on-duty, caring for the kids, at any time on Christmas Day (substitute Christmas Eve if that’s your big celebration).

So– with apologies for excluding those host families & au pairs who do not celebrate Christmas):

Will you ask your AP to be on duty on Christmas, if she celebrates Christmas? (check all that apply)

View Results

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{ 11 comments }

cvh December 18, 2008 at 2:01 am

Moms, I’m gonna answer my own poll….
We have always had Christian au pairs, so I make sure that they get a chunk of the day to go to church, whenever they want. When dinner is at my house, we’ve scheduled it around Mass, Praise Dance Group performances, and the like.
But, I have almost always given my au pair the day ‘off’… we have enough Grandmoms, Aunts, Uncles and cousins that I’ve never really needed the help. BUT– I have scheduled my au pair to work on Thanksgiving (not actually during dinner) because I’ve found that giving her a specific role (usually, helping kids set the table!) helps her create a place within the extended family. When everyone is working, it seems to help to have a specific job…

Dawn December 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

We also celebrate Christmas, but our au pairs have always had the day “off.” However, they’ve always ended up still spending the day with us, and helping out as needed — they are just not officially “on duty” and therefore don’t have primary responsibility for the kids. Certainly, if they wanted to go away for the weekend or had specific plans, that would be fine — but since Christmas is such a “family holiday,” the au pair is always invited (but not required) to spend the day with the rest of the family.

cynthia December 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Our Au Pair is Muslim (but still likes to go to Xmas parties) but we are going away for an extended family vacation. We toyed with the idea of bringing her, however, my in laws can be invasive and have offended even me when I am holding “their grandchildren” or “nephew/neice”. We determined they would have no issue with bossing her around either and since that would be her comfort (taking care of the kids) we wanted to spare her. We also kind of figured she’d enjoy the week off to relax and she has a boyfriend that lives a couple of hours away who we told her was more than welcome to stay with her a couple of days at the house so she wasn’t all alone. I think it’s a good balance, she gets a break and we won’t be consumed with making sure she’s comfortable or not bored and we’ll be able to hand of the kids to the grandparents and get some alone time too. We’ll be doing christmas presents the night before we leave and having a “mock” christmas with her.

Rayann December 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

We’re atheist, but like many non-religious families, we still celebrate Christmas as a non-religious holiday. Our au pair is Christian, but as far as we’ve seen, she doesn’t practice her faith, although we have encouraged her to do so. Our older two children are going to visit grandparents in another State over the holidays, so it will just be my husband, our AP and I with our 2 year old. We’re doing a “staycation” to a major city about an hour from us, booked fireplace suites at a great hotel, and will do some shopping and relaxing.

We’ve asked our AP to work for a couple hours on Christmas Eve so we can go out for a nice dinner without taking the baby, and Christmas Day she is mostly off duty…although she’ll be with us, and she is great about pitching in wherever she is needed.

C December 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm

My au pair will be on duty x-mas eve and x-mas afternoon. She will help prepare some native traditional foods that she would like to share with us. She will participate like another family member, helping to pitch in where needed: prepping food, setting the table. I can always use an extra set of hands. Extended family don’t always help in the ways I need them to.

Maya December 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I already voted, but here is my answer.

My new au pair will not be on duty on Christmas. In fact, she will be going back to her previous host family for Christmas.

Neither her previous host family nor us celebrate Christmas, but she has made friends there who do celebrate. Her prior host family was very gracious in that they will provide her with a place to stay for 3 days, from 24th through 26th.

Even if she would not be traveling for Christmas, I still would not have made her work anyway.

This coming Sunday we will be having Chanukah dinner (first night of Chanukah) and although Sunday is her day off, we invited her to join us if she would like. I am curious to see what she will decide. We expect a lot of family members to come over for dinner and I gave her heads up in that some of those family members do not speak English, so there will be a lot of talking going on that she may not understand, but then so won’t my husband either. Whatever she decides to do will be fine with us.

I have a question: Since she will be traveling from 24th to 26th, do you think I should give her gift before she leaves or after she comes back? I am not sure what to do.

Kammy December 19, 2008 at 2:47 am

Our au pair is from Thailand, and is very excited about her first Christmas. She is going to join us for the day (actually, 3 days) at my parents’ home in another state for the celebrations. With the jobs my husband and I have, she does not always get holidays off (she’s stuck working New Year’s since we are – ugh). Even though she will be traveling with us, I make an effort for her to not have to step in with the baby on her day off. It’s only fair the way I see it. She usually tries to help over my objections anyway.

Kristy December 22, 2008 at 11:17 pm

I’ve just spent an hour reading through your posts, and I’m fascinated by both the posts, and also the comments from your readers.

Two things popped into my mind while reading:
1) Sounds like there’s only female au pairs out there, based on how you approach every issue. Given that the majority are female, I can understand that referring to the au pair as ‘she’ is easier – but keep in mind that there are also male au pairs – and that there might be other issues and concerns regarding them.

2) It would be interesting if you did a poll on age. Based on the comments, it sounds like all of your readers have au pairs under the age of 20.

Maya December 23, 2008 at 2:45 am

Kristy, this is just one person’s answer, but my first au pair was 22 and my now current second au pair is 25. Both are females though.

Dawn December 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Ditto. Our au pairs have always been in their 20s. Our current au pair is 23. We’ve always had female au pairs — we did consider some male au pairs when matching for our next au pair (to arrive in February), but ended up selecting a female again. I’d love to have a male au pair someday — I think it would be great for our active boys! But the particular applicants who were available when we were looking all had ONLY experience with older kids, and our youngest (and the au pair’s main responsibility) is 2, so we wanted someone more comfortable with toddlers.

A poll (or polls) would be interesting, though, now that it appears that the poll function works!

Another thing that I’d LOVE to see (but this may not be possible with this site, and/or may not fit with cvh’s “vision” for the site) is a bulletin board/forum to allow for more discussion back and forth. We end up doing it a bit in the comments, but it’s not the same kind of “conversation” that we could have on a message board.

Maya December 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I have orginized a community that is more of a conversation format for this very same purpose. It is not active right now as not a lot of people know about it.

I will only post the link to it though with CVH’s permission.

CVH, please email me at mtr109@hotmail.com if you are interested in looking at the community and co-moderating it.

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