When I worked on the boats I found myself on her several times for Christmas. It's always somewhat lonely out there but the holidays just made it worse. Each boat had a shabby little artificial tree that we would put up in the crew lounge. The company tried to set it up so each person had every other Christmas off. It didn't always work out though. I remember one time in the late 70's that I spent 55 days ( instead of the usual 30 ) on one trip due to severe ice on the Ohio river. I was supposed to be off for the holiday that year but no one could be enticed to come out a few days before Christmas, we didn't get home to Pittsburgh until the middle of January ! I was offered relief after the holidays but decided to stay on to see how long I could take it.
We often had a guy who got "sick" about four or five days before Christmas in order to get off the boat. We would say he had the " Jingle Bell Flu ".