Many of us are working on Christmas. As an expat, aid worker, pilot or international business traveller you are also likely to be far away from family and friends. Are you perhaps based in a field location where choice and access to ‘normal’ festive haunts is a no-no? When you’re working on Christmas you can choose to make an event of it, or completely ignore it. Check out our best tips for how you can tackle the lonely feeling, and what alternatives you have to a self-pity party. Do share your best tips too in our comment section below. The more the merrier, right?!

Working on Christmas far away from home? Illustrated by The GOODista field focus logo
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Working on Christmas:  Far Away From Home

Perhaps you are based in a remote location, or spend time down-line. You are far away from family and friends, and during the holidays the feeling being very lonely can creep in.

If you’re far away from home on Christmas you need to deal with the emotional impact that the season brings. When you are an international professional the on-off life away from home is part of your routine.

It is a given that you miss out on big and small events at home. Your work style also requires your partner to be a big part of this chosen way of life.

Tip: Read: How Working Away Relationships Can Be Partnerships  –

Working on Christmas: Home or Away?

When you work on a rolling schedule it is inevitable that you will be working on Christmas a few times. You know it, and your family does too. 

Seasonal holidays bring on reactions — good or bad. If you’re working on Christmas this year, you can choose to mark the day in your own special way, or treat it as if it was just another workday. The choice is yours, but however you turn it, thoughts of home will spring upon you. 

What can you do if you’re working on Christmas? Ignore the day, or tackle it head-on? Read on to find our best tips for a Christmas spent working (far) away.

Working on Christmas and more posts on illustrated by reindeer looking at a map

Working on Christmas: Location, Location, Location

When you’re away from home during holidays, the cheer that normally comes with the jingle bell season does not set in easily.

Where you are matters. You will perhaps be invited to a kind persons home, or end up in some bar with a bunch of other lonely chaps who look don’t look much like Santa. 

As part of a healthy lifestyle, we need to feel good about ourselves in order to be good to our mind and bodies, which in turn enables us to do good — at work, to others and to those close to us.

This is all very well, but if you are far away from any kind of ‘normal’ civilisation it is hard to lead a healthy life as access to healthy clubs, restaurants and ‘people’ is a challenge. You don’t have the same choices as when you are in a city. Safety and security are factors to always consider in when planning anything, so logistics solutions have to be creative. One way to maintain your healthy lifestyle can be to talk to a coach that knows how field work can impact, and how to stay in shape with small DIY means. Try it: Coaching  

Healthy living also means taking care of your emotional responses. And – this is where bigger holidays can become challenging. How do you mark a special day? 

Working on Christmas and more posts on illustrated by dog as Santa in sunglasses
Working on Christmas illustrated by frog in Santa hat

Working on Christmas: Mark The Day

You’re on call, set to go, and ready for another working day. But – this day happens to be Christmas. The thought will cross you mind, and you are bound to feel the separation from home more. You have a choice:

Ignore the day altogether. Not an easy choice, as some friendly soul will have placed tinsel in a palm tree or a colleague shouts: Merry Christmas! For whatever reason that you may decide to forget that this is a special day under ‘normal’ you will be reminded nevertheless. 

My advice is to mark the day. Make it cheerful even if you’re not with your chosen group of people. Here are some tips that can elevate the routine to something that resembles a celebration:

7 Working Far Away on Christmas Tips

  • Get your fellow lonely Christmas orphans together for a gathering. The format can be dinner together at the same table in your usual eatery, or just a coffee before / after shift to exchange a few cheers. 
  • Organise an impromptu ‘secret Santa’ event. Each person brings an item of minute value that they find in their packing, or possible shop. Wrap these gifts up in whatever paper you can find, and write a cheery message. Make a point to make a celebration around the exchange. “It’s the thought that counts!”  — and you are guaranteed a few laughs, and a a good story for another Christmas. 
  • Prick a sport and challenge your colleague to a game or course. Get everyone together is the key word and if you can interject some fitness – so much the better. Make everyone move by using this fab offer from amazon and get free music to download: Free Music  
  • Talk to your camp logisticians, and make a dinner for everyone. It doesn’t have to include any of the usual Christmas foods, but every cook I know has a few tricks up his/her sleeve something ordinary extra special. 
  • Pick up seasonal decorations, and place them in your room. To remind yourself positively of the ‘goodwill onto all men’ thought behind Christmas will make the day pass more easily. 
  • Communicate with your loved ones — but if you think this will make it harder on you (and them) an email may be just as good. Sometimes it’s better not to talk, as it brings on so many more emotions. See below!
  • Make a very big point of making an ‘official’ Christmas with loved ones, once you’re together again. That will be a day making memories which will be very different from that day in your remote duty station – and for your family this years will have two Christmases – yeah! 

The point is to make the most of what can be an emotional rollercoaster. You have job to do, and this year it’s your turn to work on a special day. Next year it may not be this way — but this year it is. Mark the day! 

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Working on Christmas: Ho-Ho-Ho or No-No-No?

If you too have spent a few Christmases apart from family and friends the impact of being ‘alone’ on this special day, is something you don’t particularly relish.

You can however make a point of making it a cheerful break in a working routine – wherever you are. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular event at all, and your job will most likely not allow for it. A cup of tea can be that moment. 

The point is to make it less of a self-pity party, and find a joy in just being there in that moment. You can appreciate that you are there, so that someone else can be at home this time. Next time it will be you.

Your work has meaning and many depend on you, and in itself that is a gift to those that don’t have the luxury of holiday celebration. The feelings of a bigger purpose will be what you carry with you. 

For those of you that are away from home this Christmas The GOODista extends a Merry Christmas, and a special gift in the form of a playlist. Subscribe to our newsletter, and crank up the volume. 

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Working on Christmas far away from home? Illustrated by frog with xmas decorations