A hint of peppermint is swirling through the air, and twinkling lights are dancing around the neighborhood. Homes are frosted with snow, and children are skipping through the streets with rosy cheeks.

Wait, what is this? A Norman Rockwell painting? Although this poetic scene seems true to some, if you’re in the restaurant industry, you probably don’t see the holidays through rose-colored glasses.

This story reads quite differently in your world during the months of November and December. This is one of the busiest times of year, and sometimes it can feel almost impossible to enjoy the season because of how busy you are at work.

The numbers are here to backup your stress: restaurant sales during November and December have been trending up by between 4.2% and 6.4% since 2010, meaning more tips for you, but also more stressed-out diners.

Here are some of the people you’ll see dining at your restaurant this holiday season.

1. The couple that’s buying all their gifts on Christmas Eve.

They have three kids under 5. These two are stressed out and have bags filled with Tonka trucks, Malibu Barbies, and Tickle Me Elmos. Be sure to bring over a cocktail menu, stat!


2. The dude who’s trying to pick out a necklace for his girlfriend of 4 weeks.

He strolls in in complete confusion. This man can’t even decide if he wants his burger cooked medium or medium well. Good luck, mate.


3. The bickering siblings who can’t seem to figure out how to split the bill.

The holidays are expensive. Getting Mom a Keurig and Dad a Fitbit adds up to more than chump change. These three teens have been fighting since they left the house, and they won’t notice you for about 48 seconds while you’re trying to get their order.


4. The 7th graders buying Secret Santa gifts.

These kids have bags of candles and lotions from Bath & Body Works and nail polish from CVS. They’ll pay with fresh $20 bills from their mom’s wallet, but won’t know percents well enough to be able to tip you more than $4.


5. The most adorable elderly couple. Ever.

These two. They come in slowly, and Earl pulls out Mildred’s chair ever so carefully. They’ll take a long time, and they’ll enjoy a glass of Cabernet around 11:15 a.m.


6. The mom in a complete holiday stressed-out funk who almost walks out without paying the bill.

Excuse me, Miss—uh, yea…this chicken parm isn’t gonna pay for itself!


7. The woman who needs a separate table for her bags.

Wow. Can I be your daughter? I see all those Nordstrom bags.


8. The dad asking you if the new Xbox is “really worth” $400.

To be honest, no. Get your kids a Nintendo 64 or something. Nothing is better than Mario Kart.


9. The group of girlfriends that takes out their stress on rounds of vodka sodas.

These girls say they’re going holiday shopping, but really they’re inhaling vodka sodas with their Caesar salads (without croutons or cheese). To be honest, these girls are cool, and if you’re a guy, you’re getting a 30% tip and a few numbers.


10. You after a long, long shift filled with stressed-out holiday shoppers.

We’re all guilty of being one of these characters. No matter how much stress the holidays create for you at work, there’s nothing quite like having a nice meal out to calm you down.


Working in a restaurant through the holidays? Tweet us @getupserve with your comments, questions, and, of course, stories.

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Hannah can be found riding the slopes of New Hampshire by winter and riding the waves of Rhode Island by summer. In order to satisfy a constant sweet tooth, you can find her bouncing between Ellie's Bakery and Pastiche, both in Providence, RI.