Keeping the Christmas Cheer (or how to have a FIFO Xmas)

It’s been a long, long year.

COVID threw unexpected challenges at all of us and no one escaped the impact of the pandemic, not least the thousands of FIFO workers who were impacted by changed conditions and border closures.

Now, with Christmas on the horizon and restrictions in Australia easing, there’s more anticipation than ever to shake off the gloom and share the festive season with loved ones and friends. But for some FIFO workers who won’t get the opportunity to reunite with family, this Christmas will be particularly tough. So, it’s worth considering ways to keep the blues at bay despite the distance between you and loved ones.

These simple suggestions might just help.

Make a Date

Before you fly out, lock in a particular day when you intend to celebrate on your next R&R (nobody said you can’t do Christmas twice!). If you have kids, put the date on the fridge and make it a Red-Letter Day – something they can look forward to.

Make it your job to plan the event (deciding what to do will prevent the day being a fizzer). Planning can be a distraction for you while you are on site and a surprise for everyone back home.

Spring some Surprises

If you have a partner or children, maintain the element of Christmas morning surprise by arranging a special gift – even though you’re not there to see the reactions. Maybe consider hiding gifts before you leave and then give clues when you call on Christmas day.

The Christmas Call

Schedule your Zoom or video calls before the day -maybe to coincide with the kids waking up, present opening time or the start of lunch when everyone is gathered. That way your family or friends will be anticipating your call and you’ll feel a connected part of the excitement and festivities.

Tackle the Technology

Find time early in the day to send all your texts to friends and loved ones, then avoid watching the screen for replies.

Remind yourself how crazy a household can be on the 25th. You can feel a little left out if people don’t reply at once and that can add to the isolation blues. So, consider going ‘cold turkey’ (no pun intended!). Switch off your phone and throw yourself into the on-site festivities.

Consider your Co-workers

Remember that you’re not the only one missing family and friends.

Maybe pack a few goodies before you leave home to liven things up for your on-site celebrations. Whether it’s a bag of party poppers, some Santa hats or chocolate reindeer droppings, get enough to share. It might be enough to create some laughter and lift everyone’s spirits on the day.