Christmas in New ZealandWednesday, December 18, 2013
It’s usually about this time in December that my thoughts turn towards my family back home in New Zealand, and the Christmas holidays of my childhood.
One of the things I absolutely love about living in the UK is Christmas – and if it happens to snow even better. Snow is so magical! I love how you can indulge in snugly Christmas themed jerseys and socks, enjoy a hot pudding and roast without breaking into a sweat, and all the lively festive evenings at the pub with close friends and neighbours.
However, as the days get shorter, and it’s pitch black outside by 4pm I can’t help but be a little bit wistful of my New Zealand Christmas summers past – long days at the beach, BBQs and ice-creams, sand between your toes and that hot/cold feeling of sunburn, which means you've had a great day in the sun.
Here’s my ‘best’ of celebrating Christmas in New Zealand…
Firstly - Pohutukawa, New Zealand's own red Christmas flower. Pohutukawa trees are generally coastal, appearing at lots of beaches across the country, and their red flowers bloom at Christmas time. They are absolutely gorgeous, and a Christmas in New Zealand is just not the same without them.
The New Zealand Christmas Tree painting
close up of a pohutukawa flower taken by yours truly
Secondly, the long summer days spent at the beach, where the sun is so hot you can see the heat radiating off the ground. It's fairly standard for familys to head to the beach on Christmas or Boxing Day for a camping holiday. And there's plenty of good beach to go around.
Waihi Beach, East Coast New Zealand - Boxing Day 2009
Thirdly - delicious and refreshing summer treats. My mum is an excellent cook and host, and on Christmas day you can always expect a lovely refreshing punch and homemade strawberry pavlova.
Cool Christmas drinks | Marshalls Abroad
Strawberry pavlova | Cafe Johnsonia
Beach picnics - and did I mention the beach?
Mum's picnic sandwiches
Mount Maunganui - 'The Mount', New Zealand
hubby and mum swimming at 'The Mount' February 2013
New Zealand Tip Top ice-cream!!!! Yum. Classic flavours include:
- Goody goody gum drops
- Orange choc chip
- Mint choc chip
- Raspberry ripple
- French vanilla
- Hokey Pokey
mint choc chip ice-cream cone
Beach walks. Every Christmas mum and dad would bundle my brother and I into the car to head out for a 'beach tramp' (beach walk to you). Classic destinations included walking around or to the top of Mount Maunganui, or walking to Otarawairere Bay from Ohope Beach.
mum and dad walking ahead of me around 'The Mount' - February 2013
view of the beach from 'The Mount' walking track
And lastly, those lovely four weeks of summer holiday after Christmas, before the new school year started. My parents have a caravan up in The Coromandel, and have been going there every year since before I was born. Here's the view from their camp site...
The Coromandel, New Zealand