Surviving a FIFO Christmas

Posted: 14th Jan

Mumabytes - Katie Oliveira da Silveira -

Over the last few years, Christmas, thankfully, is the one event my family is lucky enough to have always been together for. This Christmas is no exception because hubby moved home in October – and I burned his passport! Nah, not really, I need him to take us to Hawaii before I pull a stunt like that.

So, with my other half having missed all the birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Valentines Day, recycling day and the rest, I know the feeling of a really major absence on important occasions.

I think Christmas would have to be the hardest, though, because EVERYONE does it. Everyone does Easter, too, but The Bunny definitely doesn’t have the clout that old man Claus has.

My heart really does go out to families who can’t be together at Christmas, whether it’s because of work, or health or whatever reason keeps you apart. It sucks. It hurts. It saddens.

Nothing really makes it better, but here are some ideas to make it, maybe a little more bearable over the Christmas period:

1. Make a really massive deal of celebrating Christmas anyway. Sometimes you might feel so dejected that you consider an event-shutdown. But, seriously, you can’t fool yourself and you’ll most likely feel worse. Scrooge might be hammering at your brain demanding entry, but try to force a little cheer upon thy lonely self. If you’ve got kids, they need to see you happy anyway. Remember kids really struggle seeing their parents upset.

2. Remind your friends and family of your situation so that they remember to open up their arms, homes and cellars.

3. SKYPE!! As if you don’t live on Skype already, but spending an hour or so on Skype on Christmas morning, maybe while the kids open their presents, will make you feel better. At least you’ll have seen each other’s faces. Screw the times zone issues – it’s Christmas. And screw the gigabytes, too.

4. Make sure you’re not alone or idle. Be around people, other families or friends. Eat, drink, drink some more, play with the kids and their presents. Be busy.

5. Most Christmas movies pack a bit of emotion. Pour a bottle glass of wine, wack your favourite film on and feel it. Sob if you need to sob. Wail. Throw tissues at the screen. Go with it. Drama can help you just let it out. (I recommend Love Actually. Particularly the scene where Emma Thompson gets a CD instead of a necklace.)

6. If it’s work that’s keeping you apart, make a CD of your rendition of Denise Walter does Christmas and send it to your partner’s boss. They just might give him/her next Christmas off.

7. Keep the kids’ agendas fully booked, so they’re less likely to dwell on absences. Waiting in line at a shopping centre to see Santa ought to fill half a day. (If there’s an Aldi nearby, slam down a few of those chocolate Santas – chocolate helps.)

8. Raincheck it. Just because you aren’t together doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at another time. Plan it and make it special. Maybe a holiday – then you don’t have to spend a whole day cooking, or deal with pine needle stings when you dismantle a tree.

9. Make sure you know the local bottle-o’s open hours.

10. Know, just know, that you’re not alone. Heaps of people around the world are in a similar situation.

Here’s hoping that, despite all, you can have some laughs, be around great people, stuff yourself with delectables and cuddle the heck out of your kiddies.

Merry Christmas xx