Christmas and holidays in McMurdo

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    Hi there:
    I’ll be heading down there in about a month to work as a janitor. I’m just curious about what holidays are like there. Do you take the day off and do something special to celibrate holidays? Do the workers have Christmas gifts mailed to them? And if they do how soon do they need to get mailed before Christmas in order to arrive in time? Do you exchange gifts on Christmas with each other? I’m just wondering if I should bring some small gifts down with me. I’d appreciate your responses.


    If you’re a gift-givy type of person, then by all means bring a few small items. If you’re crafty, it might be fun to make something or if you have a skill (massage…whatever)…possibilities are endless.

    For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s most people get two days off. There are exceptions of course – kitchen staff, firefighters and the poor overworked VMF generator mechanic (and others)have to work on the holidays. Many partake in copious libations during those times and the dining facility puts out one helluva good meal for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some people dress up, others wear their ripped up carhartts and t-shirts.

    My folks usually ship me a small package, some people get huge packages…I prefer small to nothing. I’ve got too much stuff as it is. I think the USAP participant’s guide can give you a recommendation on when to have x-mas packages mailed by to get ’em here. In 2005 the space station got their x-mas mail before McMurdo. Much grizzling went on over it. By the time your x-mas goodies get here, it’ll be time to mail ’em back so you haven’t got to carry them while traveling. Consumables are a good thing to have shipped down.


    xmas and tday on the ice are VERY low-key holidays compared with home … no commercials, no shopping, no irritating crowds, no bell ringers and almost more focused on the important things like friends and family, i enjoyed it immensely … but if you want the trappings of xmas, a small fake tree for example, bring it with you, or do what many of us do and forego it and enjoy a different way of celebrating.

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