"This is our second home for six months of the year. It's important to have a bit of fun and a laugh. It makes Christmas go a little bit easier."

- Wayne Mckenzie, East Coast Catering

With multiple offshore installations off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, it's a fact of life that some oil and gas employees won't be home for the holiday season. Instead they'll be celebrating with their second families, at their home away from home. And as it is with families, each installation has its own way of celebrating the holidays.

If you were to visit HMDC's Hibernia or ExxonMobil's Hebron installations, both have a charity raffle night held every year on Dec 25. The money raised is donated to someone in need. Last year, the money was given to a family who had gone through a house fire and needed a little extra help for the holidays. Of course, Santa also drops by every year to hand out stockings.

"It's one of the things you look forward to, coming in to a nice meal, especially over the holidays. We're going to have a special meal that includes lobster which is a big treat for the crew. There's going to be a tremendous amount of food."

- Wayne Hynes, East Coast Catering

On the Terra Nova FPSO, operated by Suncor, employees ring in the New Year with a classic, downtown pub night. Non-alcoholic drinks, laughs and music are served up with classic pub fare that includes the highly-acclaimed mozza sticks and chicken fingers. This is followed by a prime rib dinner with all the fixings on New Year's Day.

And for those who call Husky Energy’s SeaRose FPSO home, the holidays are filled with plenty of fun activities and decorations. An hourly prize draw starts first thing in the morning and prizes are given out all day long. In between giveaways there are dart, poker and crib tournaments to keep everyone entertained. Then, as the day winds down, some of the more musically-inclined crew members will grab their instruments for an annual, foot-stomping concert. Sometimes a mummer has even been known to show up for the tunes!

As the holidays are a time for family and friends, it's no surprise that those who can't make it home have built their own annual holiday traditions offshore. "It's important that we take time for a special meal and a small celebration to relieve the stress of being away from our families at this time of year," says Dave Dwyer, Husky Energy. "This is how we celebrate with our second family."