When thinking of the holidays, several things may come to mind: time away from work and priceless moments spent with family, observing long-held traditions. This isn’t the case for many truck drivers, who must work during the holiday season. From gift exchanges to festive dinners, these hardworking individuals deliver the goods that many of us look forward to at this time of year.
As you can imagine, being on the road during the holidays is never easy and thanks to a hard-charging economy, more truckers are doing just that in 2018. But learning how to beat the holiday blues isn’t something taught in trucking schools. Most over-the-road (OTR) drivers find their ways to keep going on the season’s revered days.
A mission-focused attitude is a good start. “Over the holidays, it doesn’t matter that the whole world shuts down. You have to treat it like any other day,” says Mike DeMarco, an owner-operator from upstate New York. Video conferencing with his wife keeps them connected and strengthens his resolve to sacrifice for their future.
It’s also easier being away when you have a family that is understanding. After 29 years in trucking, Steve Brown’s family is accustomed to him working six days a week from mid-November to the beginning of January. “We keep a positive attitude, and that makes a big difference, right there,” he says. “We make the best of it with what we have to work with.”
In addition to an understanding family, creativity and flexibility can lessen the feeling of missing out. Tiffany Hanna, a mother of five, says she almost always works on Christmas. Because of this, she moves the celebration to a more convenient spot on the calendar. Most years, she does her feasting and family visits in mid-March, when her schedule is more accommodating. She also makes sure to cherish the moments she does spend with her family, despite the sadness she sometimes feels when missing out on life’s important events.
Kevin Payne, an OTR driver from southern California, also tries to look on the bright side. He always reaches out to loved ones by phone, but just as important, he stays open to new possibilities. Late last year, for example, Kevin stopped for the night near New Braunfels, Texas, and caught a ride into the old part of town. It was here that he stumbled upon a festive brewpub where revelers were dressed up for holidays.
“I still get my holiday in,” he says. “I’m just in another town.”