How do FIFO kids make Christmas special when one of their parents is away for the most exciting day of the year? Twelve-year-old Abby Ranford spills the beans...
For the first eight years of my life, my Dad did FIFO. I didn’t know any different than him heading off to work in a taxi and getting back a couple of weeks later. He is mainly at home now, but still goes away a couple of times a year.
Part of Dad being away was that he would miss things like birthdays and Christmas. Sometimes this was hard, but my brother, Mum and I found lots of different ways to still make these occasions fun.
Here are my favourite ways to enjoy a FIFO Christmas:
- Send a Christmas shoe box package up to the mine site. Fill it with funny Christmas things like biscuits, drawings, photos, a homemade Christmas card and any other treats you know they will love. Once I filled one of my old socks with little things from my room so Dad had a stocking on Christmas morning.
- Make a recording of you and your brothers and sisters opening presents on Christmas Day. Make sure you tell your parent how much you love the gifts and let them know that you miss them. Then send it to them, so they can feel like they were a part of your Christmas morning.
- Enjoy double the fun. People often felt sorry for us as kids when Dad was away. I don’t think they realised that this meant we got two Christmas Days. So my third tip is to have a special Christmas with your FIFO parent before they go, and give them all the bits and pieces you normally would on Christmas Day. We were lucky because Mum would go all out and make a full Christmas dinner for Dad before he went away. We opened presents under the tree and would watch a Christmas movie together. Then on Christmas Day we would get to do it all again. Of course I wished Dad was there but we still had fun.
- Skype your FIFO parent if you can. We were lucky because Dad pretty much always had access to the internet. Talk to them about your day so far, and remember to ask about their Christmas Day. Dad says they often get a special dinner at the mine.
- Remember to be positive even though you have a FIFO parent away at Christmas. It’s OK to tell them you miss them, but don’t make them feel bad that they are away. Remember they will miss you all on Christmas Day, but you have to realise that they are working hard for your family and this is just part of being a FIFO family.