When I first started freelance writing, I always assumed prompt payment from my clients. I mean, it was just how it worked. I did the job, they approved it and soon the money would magically make its way into my PayPal account. Woohoo! We eat for another day.
When the holidays came around such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, I knew I was going to need extra cash. Thanksgiving meant a ton of driving and a ton of gasoline and Christmas is...well...Christmas. My wife has always been a big Black Friday shopper too. As a writer, I found that while job opportunities were plentiful, payment and communication was not on these holidays.
Let's face it: it makes sense. These are people that have their own holiday celebrations to plan, stories to prepare either for closure over the holidays or shopping overload. I was around number 500 on their priority list. It would be a few days before Thanksgiving and I would be broke as a joke, but still have about $500 in unpaid work.
Inevitably, come Monday after Thanksgiving, I would get the e-mails and the money would start flowing in, but Thanksgiving was pretty much ruined. There were a couple years were I couldn't even afford to go to my family's festivities.
Needless to day, the moral of this story is to never count on sudden money from the holidays. Begin making plans weeks or even months before and start putting it away. It's just safer and you won't be left stranded without a turkey.