How do Kiwis like to celebrate Christmas? Being in summer rather than the northern hemisphere, it’s all about enjoying glorious sun, beaches and barbeques.
Let’s take a look at what Christmas looks like in the lead up to the big day and the event itself.
New Zealand’s Own Christmas Tree
New Zealand’s iconic Christmas tree is the beautiful Pohutukawa, which also holds a prominent place in Maori culture. An 800-year-old tree clinging to the cliffs of Cape Reinga (Far North) is said to guard the entrance to a sacred cave through which spirits pass on their way to the next world.
On another note, legend has it that the earlier the Pohutukawas bloom, means the longer the summer. This year they started early, so looks like we are in for a good one!
Kiwis like to decorate both artificial and real trees, often together as a family from 1 December onwards.
You know Christmas is on the horizon when you hear of Santa or Christmas parades taking place throughout November and December each year. Originally they started in the main centres in the early 1900s and typically feature the big man himself and local business and community floats (decorated vehicles) and performance acts.
Who doesn’t love a holiday? Well for Kiwis – this is the big one, the one they’ve been waiting all year for. Most take at least 2 weeks holiday and enjoy lazy days at the beach or the bach, games of backyard cricket, food on the barbie and don the holiday uniform of shorts, jandals and T-shirts.
The Big Day
For many it’s a relief to get to 25 December, after the mad rush to finish projects at work before closedown and preparing for the day by shopping for presents and cooking up a storm.
Where would you prefer to spend Christmas? Many love to celebrate at home with close family, extended family or family and friends. The majority of us think that the best thing about Christmas is spending quality time with family and friends.
Christmas Day is all about food, and lots of it. Roast dinners are cooked often, and/or hams bought, accompanied by salads and roast veggies.
Even though you are generally filled to the brim after that, dessert is mandatory and highly revered. In many homes you’ll see the great NZ pavlova topped with cream and strawberries, accompanied by trifle and fruit salad.
And the best bit? Eating dessert for breakfast the next day and all the leftovers for days to come.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!