DIDO work roster makes for weird and wonderful first Christmas for our Mini Miner

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based on the NSW Central Coast and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I am very lucky to have a super-mum. She does everything for us, like an English Martha Stewart except with less jail time and more wine.

And when it comes to Christmas, she and my auntie are a force to be reckoned with. Our Christmas includes a huge Christmas tree, beautifully decorated; homemade mince pies and sausage rolls (great with mulled wine after the frosty walk home from the pub on Christmas Eve); the full works for Christmas dinner, including homemade Christmas crackers (bon bons); and the tackiest, but tastiest Christmas cake iced by the kids on Christmas Eve. It’s the kind of magical cold Christmas the Myer adverts are made of!

As a northern hemisphere girl and a DIDO partner, I have come to realise that Christmas here won't necessarily meet my expectations of Christmas back home. There’s no mulled wine or mince pies and no frosty walk to the pub before midnight Mass, wrapped up in winter woolies. Not to mention the fact my family is thousands of kilometres away! And I don’t want to sound like a whingeing Pom, but waaaaaahhhh, hot Christmas is just all kinds of wrong!

It’s not just the heat and the fact nobody here likes Christmas cake. It's that Mr Miner’s family has no Christmas traditions. Perhaps it’s because he’s one of four boys and he and his brothers just aren’t so concerned about upholding family traditions, but unless being hungover on Christmas day is a tradition, they just don’t seem to have any.

Mum and my auntie are the backbone of our Christmas traditions and with the arrival of Mini Miner, I really feel the need to emulate this in some way.

With that and it being our first Christmas in our new home, I had planned to go all out this year. Over-the-top decorations, way too much food, board games, Christmas music … whatever the cold equivalent of mulled wine is, the works! I will be forcing the oxymoron that is 'making new traditions' on everyone.

And then Mr Miner told me he will be working on the big day.

'No worries,' I thought, 'we’ll have an early Christmas.' We can do it the week before, Mini won’t know the difference, heck the 25th is a pagan holiday anyway! And we can still pull out all the stops. Maybe no midnight Mass, but I’m sure I can find some carols to drag everyone too.

And then my mother-in-law called. "Shall we do early Christmas so we can all be together?" she asked. "Oh, and can you make homemade bon bons? It’s tradition!"

So that’s settled. We’re having "Christmas" one week early at her house. Which is very exciting as there will be Mini and his two new baby cousins as well, plus nine adults and several dogs. The perfect Christmas chaos I’m used to. And then we can have festivities at our house on Christmas Day. I’ve always liked the idea of an orphan's Christmas with all my English friends.

And then my sister-in-law called. "What are you and Mini doing for Christmas Day?" she asked. "Come to Tamworth. It could be Great Grandma’s last Christmas (she’s 92, and we've been saying that for the last five years at least!)

So we’re off to the father-in-law’s for Christmas Day. There will be family and food, Secret Santa (a hit last year) and can I make my Christmas brownies? It's tradition! "Oh and don’t forget the Christmas pyjamas."

And then a message from my Mum. "Our flights are all booked and we’ll be there on January 6. We can exchange presents then and if you’re worried about missing out, you can always make a Christmas cake and we can share it too."

Which got me thinking I could even leave the decorations up (just a little late) and maybe have a little late Christmas celebration at our house too.

So, I have to admit, perhaps we’ve already started to make some traditions without even noticing. And maybe doing Christmas "properly" is open to adjustment.

But most importantly, Mini Miner’s first Christmas will be jam-packed with family fun, no matter where we are or when we celebrate.

And maybe one day he’ll experience a cold Christmas and find it totally magical too.

Our Miner's Girl also has her own website: check out her blog here at http://minersgirl.com/

And here's lots more from Sarah on Mining Family Matters:

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