Christmas on a mine site: A survival guide

Christmas trees

Some hints for getting through the Christmas period while working on-site.

Yep. You blinked and now it’s nearly upon us again.

Christmas can be a tough time of year with all the stress of rushing around, buying last-minute presents and preparing to reunite with the family and friends you lost touch with over the last 12 months.  

For FIFO workers rostered on over the silly season though, the challenges tend to be a little different.

Feeling like you’re missing out on precious time with family and friends is common, and the remoteness of a lot of mine sites can compound those feelings.

Here is a list of things to keep in mind while getting through the end of the year.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

If you know you’re going to be on-site over Christmas, now is the time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Get your shopping done as early as you can to give you more room to be thoughtful without the stress.

Knowing that someone is unwrapping your great gift on Christmas morning could help take the edge off being away.

Alicia Ranford is the woman behind the professional support website for miners, Mining Family Matters. She personally knows the challenges associated with having a loved one who sometimes works away during family events.

For Ranford, a bit of preparation can ensure that your absence isn’t felt too keenly.

“Just because you’re away at Christmas, doesn’t mean you should be ‘out of sight, out of mind’,” she says.

Get creative

With that last thought in mind, putting a bit of effort into leaving some surprises for the family can go a long way. Hiding presents around the house and calling with instructions on how to find them can prove a fun activity for the kids.

Whatever you come up with, putting in the time before you go away should help make the day special for you and your family.

Keep in touch

Communication is key. Once you know your specific roster, making sure you’ve arranged a set time to call or Skype the family will help ensure you aren’t cut short or are unable to get through.

Stay positive

While it’s tough to be at work during significant family events, remember that you’re not the only one. Your workmates are likely feeling the same way.

For Julie Lovenly, Co-Founder of help website This FIFO Life , thinking about how to keep your spirits up on the day is essential.

“The important thing is to have some strategies and think ahead rather than waiting until you feel terribly sad and homesick,” Lovenly says.

“One of the things to remind yourself of is the bigger picture and maybe the reasons why you’re doing FIFO, because we know most FIFO workers are doing it to get ahead and to have a better life for the family.”

And hey, if you really wish you weren’t missing out, you can always have a second Christmas when you’re back at home. The kids will love that!