How to survive Christmas on a mine site

Christmas trees

If you’re facing a Christmas away from your family, working on a mine site, we’ve got some tips to help get you through.

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 to help you get through the end of the year if you’re spending it away from loved ones.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

If you know you’re going to be onsite 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.

Alicia says 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.

READ MORE: 7 tips every FIFO worker should know for a Merry Christmas

Keep in touch

Communication is key. Once you know your specific roster, making sure you’ve arranged a set time to call or FaceTime 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.

Julie Lovenly, co-founder of help website This FIFO Life, said 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,” Julie said.

“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!

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Dan Hatch
Mining People International