Is it ok to ask our Nanny to work Christmas?

Dear Graham

Is it appropriate to invite your nanny to stay for Christmas? My three boys and husband adore her and I could really use the help at this busy time of year. She’s planning on going home to her parents in Yorkshire on Christmas Eve – we live in Bath – but I think if I asked her to stay she would. Is it wrong of me to put her in this position? And secondly, assuming she accepts the invitation, would I need to pay her? She would be getting free meals, obviously, and we’d make sure she got a present. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
Fiona K, Somerset
Dear Fiona
Scrooge lives! Should you pay her? Is she working? Yes and yes – and what’s more, you should give her a hefty bonus for helping you out and abandoning her own family. I can’t believe I’m actually having to spell this out, but may I also remind you that she should still get the gift and the free food.
Just like a puppy, a nanny isn’t just for Christmas; treat yours badly and I’m fairly certain you won’t be seeing her in the new year. A good nanny may be like a member of the family but never lose sight of the fact that she’s not.
There is no harm in asking her to work over Christmas, but she has every right to refuse. Don’t put pressure on her or be tempted to punish her in some way. This is a nanny that you all adore – a thing harder to find than an un-lobotomised Piers Morgan fan. Don’t mess it up.