I've written about this previously but in brief--and since it's that time of the year, I'll emphasize the point: If you have an office job and you're given a choice and don't have family commitments, it's a smart move to work over the  holiday break.

Now, you probably think I'm about to spout one of those rah-rah posts about how you'll be getting more done than your co-workers, you'll get a head start on the new year, you'll impress your boss by your commitment, and so forth. 

Screw that stuff.

IMHO, you should work over the holiday break because going into the typical office between Christmas and New Year's is like going on vacation, without getting charged for (and wasting) any of your real vacation days.

The typical office is pretty much empty during the holiday break. Nobody expects to get any work done, because there aren't enough co-workers to hold a meaningful meeting. Plus, your customers figure you're off, so they're not going to bother you.

What happens over the holiday break is that people come in at around 10 a.m., hang around, drink coffee, shoot the bull, flirt, goof off, play computer games, and so forth until about 2 or 3 p.m., and then go home.

I once worked in an office where the culture was so dysfunctional that calling it a "snake pit" would be an insult to serpents. During the holiday break, though, that office was downright pleasant. Everyone was relaxed and in a good mood.

When January 2 came around, it was a real shock and not a pleasant one when everything returned to its usual hellishness. But, even then, because I "worked" over the holiday break, I had five extra vacation days to escape later in the year.

Even better, I could tell my boss and the co-workers who were out that I was so committed to the job that I worked over the holidays so I could get a running start on the new year. It was hard to deliver that line with a straight face, but somehow I managed.

Of course, I had to summon up the courage to actually TAKE those vacation days, since there was significant pressure to not take vacations (it was seen as a lack of team commitment), but I've always been pretty impervious to peer pressure.

I've also worked in environments that weren't that negative, and, even then, working over the holiday break was a good idea. Because while the snake pit was fun over the holiday break, the non-snake pit was an absolute riot. Every coffee (at least the ones I drank) was distinctly Irish.

As somebody who's freelanced for the past two decades, the only things I really miss about working a regular office job are the paid vacations and working over the holiday break. Heck, if I could, I'd drive back to the ol' snake pit and hang out, even today.