Think ahead to create FIFO Christmas memories

People boarding a plane

If your partner is working away this Christmas, now is a great time to start thinking about how to share those loved-up festive feelings. – By Alicia RanfordPlease enter an image description.

If your partner is working away this Christmas, now is a great time to start thinking about how to share those loved-up festive feelings.

Just because someone is working away when the big man slides down the chimney, doesn’t mean they have to miss out on Christmas cheer.

A Christmas box is always my first thought. Am I sending it to site as a surprise? Or is it being packed in the bag on his last trip to site before Christmas?

If you do want to ship it but don’t know the address, don’t be afraid to ring company head office and ask to speak to the HR department. They should be able to tell you if there is a postal service and if so what the best address is.

When it comes to the actual packing, I go for a sturdy shoe box. It’s a good size and can be filled with things like a bon bon, favourite lollies, homemade Christmas cards and a little present. Some tinsel, a stocking (or sock) filled with trinkets, a Christmas hat and pen, a mini Christmas cake and a silly picture of you and the kids wearing Christmas hats. Basically anything that will make your partner smile.

Next in my planning is always to find an alternative date to celebrate Christmas when my husband is home. If you need to celebrate early, get out the tree, get your presents bought and wrapped (with the added bonus of totally missing the madness of last-minute Christmas shopping). Set a festive table, turkey, prawns, pudding, presents (not from Santa obviously), bon bons … the lot!

It might seem like a lot of work doing the whole thing early (or even twice) but it makes the kids feel better about Dad/Mum being away and it also makes your loved one feel special with all the extra effort you have gone to.

Now that your Christmas date has been set, send a friendly reminder to your worker away (ahead of time) about how many R&R days they have left to purchase gifts. (I know! I know! They shouldn’t need reminding, but a gentle hint never hurt anyone.)

Lastly I like the idea of making family Christmas puddings or cakes. Both can be made months in advance and are easily packed to be transported back to site. Make it during R&R with everyone helping to mix and stir (which traditionally brings good luck if you make a wish while stirring) and pop the mixture into two tins – one for home and one to be taken back to site for the worker to enjoy on Christmas day with their crew. No matter how far apart you all are, you can all eat the same cake on Christmas Day and think back on the fun you had making it.

Being apart at Christmas is an unfortunate reality for FIFO families sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still make wonderful Christmas memories. You just need to be a bit more creative!