"It's just another day," Cartersville Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Bagley said. "We may cook a big dinner here, but other than that it's business as usual."
Cartersville Police Department Lt. Mark Camp expressed the same thought as Bagley, saying "most of the time it is business as usual for the officers working the road."
For local everyday heroes, there is no such thing as a real off day as their businesses are "always on." Hospital staff at Cartersville Medical Center find ways to celebrate as well and make the day a little brighter for the patients they care for.
"Various departments and staff celebrate in very different ways," Ginger Tyra, director of marketing and public relations for CMC said. "Our CEO Keith Sandlin and his wife, Carol, will deliver doughnuts to all staff early Christmas morning."
Tyra said some departments have potluck or covered-dish dinners, play Christmas music, decorate offices, volunteer and assist the Employee Advisory Group at the Boys & Girls Club and the Cafe has had giveaways during December for prizes.
"Because healthcare is 24/7, obviously not everyone can take the day off," Tyra said. "Therefore, several staff who are required to work on Christmas Day stress the importance of the true meaning of Christmas to their families and that the celebration is about being together, not a date. They make adjustments and Santa visits on Dec. 24 or 26."
While the holiday is about spending time together to celebrate the importance of helping other people and giving back to something that is greater than one individual, many "always on" departments make arrangements internally for employees to trade hours and shifts to accommodate each other and allow for family time.
"When determining schedules, many of the staff with older children volunteer to work the early morning Christmas Day shift to enable staff with younger children to be at home on Christmas morning," Tyra said.
CFD Lt. Tim Key echoed that sentiment.
"Some of the guys will work over [their shift] for others with younger kids," Key said. "And sometimes we'll celebrate the day before or after."
CPD officers, as well as firefighters who live close by, may be granted breaks in the day to return home for a moment.
"For those that live inside the city limits, they are able to take a meal break and be with their families," Camp said.
Bagley said his shift will be on duty Christmas Day and he hopes to be able to give firefighters an hour break to go home.
In efforts to say "thanks" for all of their hard work and sacrifice, Camp said sometimes the community pulls together to make the holiday special for the officers.
"Sometimes people in the community will bring food by the department on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for the officers," Camp said. "But other than that, that's about it."