With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, many across the world are looking forward to the day off work and spending time with their families. But instead, it may be back to business as usual for hundreds of thousands of McDonald’s employees across the globe.

The McDonald’s Corporation is encouraging all of its chains to stay open on Christmas Day. The company previously closed on both Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, per original operations guidelines from Founder Ray Kroc. But declining business has prompted a change of heart for the leading fast food chain. In 2012 the company experienced its first drop in sales in nearly a decade.

An increased number of McDonald’s franchises stayed open on Thanksgiving earlier this year and saw solid returns, prompting the corporation to forgo its Christmas tradition for a new revenue opportunity.

Since McDonald’s only owns about 10 percent of its restaurant chains, the push to open for Christmas day cannot be mandated. Some franchise owners have opted to remain closed and retain the Christmas holiday for employees.

Reaction from McDonald’s workers has been fairly quiet to this point. Some upset employees are voicing their frustration, but the corporation has not yet experienced the outrcy that many retail stores endured over their decision to open on Thanksgiving.

It remains to be seen whether McDonald’s push to open for Christmas will cause any serious ramifications.  However, the company is sending a clear message about its priorities and must be prepared to address the potential consequences. McDonald’s needs to remain clear and consistent in its media messaging and should proactively draw upon a crisis communications plan for any public relations threats this decision might prompt.