No one likes to spend the holidays at work, let alone on the road, far from family and friends. But, that’s the fate of many truck drivers. It’s hard, no doubt about it, but there are things drivers can do to make these mobile holidays easier for themselves and their families.
You don’t always control your own schedule, so plan accordingly. Don’t overschedule holiday activities if you don’t know for sure that work will allow you to attend. It’s better to have to schedule something at the last minute than to make big plans and be forced to cancel. Allow some flexibility as to where and when the activities will take place.
Ignore the Calendar
Yes, the calendar tells us that Christmas is always December 25, New Year’s Eve is December 31 and Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, but since when have truckers played by the rules?
If your schedule doesn’t allow you to be home on the holiday calendar dates, reschedule them. Holidays are about getting together with family and friends and if that means Christmas comes on December 26 or Thanksgiving is on the fourth Tuesday, that’s okay. Not being home on a certain date doesn’t mean you have to skip the holiday altogether.
You don’t have to settle for a phone call. Social media and technology make it possible to do everything but smell the turkey. Many drivers use Skype, Facebook, Instagram and other means to participate vicariously in holiday celebrations they can’t attend. Streaming video and Snapchat can put you right at the table.
You’re not the only driver on the road or at the truck stop. Get out of your cab and share a meal or a talk with a fellow driver. Wish happy holidays to the truck stop employees who also would rather be home with their families. Show each other pictures of your kids and spouses. Take the time to make everyone a little less lonely. Try to park at one of the many truck stops that go out of their way to make drivers feel welcome during the holidays.
Play Christmas carols on your radio. Hang a wreath on your grill. Spray gingerbread air freshener in the cab. Pack a candy cane in your lunch. Do whatever you need to bring a little holiday cheer into your life on the road. And don’t hesitate to give yourself a gift, maybe a meal in a nice restaurant or a stay in a hotel.
The cab of a Kenworth is never going to be the same as being home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made more enjoyable for the holidays.