Fancy a warm Christmas next year? This country is a pretty good shout! We’re staying in the eastern hemisphere this time, but moving from the Philippines down to New Zealand, where Juliette of Snorkels to Snow is going to give us the lowdown on a Kiwi Christmas!
Hello! Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about where you are from!
Hi there! I’m Juliette from the scuba and ski travel blog Snorkels to Snow. I was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand but lived in Auckland for 5 years working in radio as a journalist and broadcaster, until my husband and I decided to move to Fiji in 2016. I now run Snorkels to Snow full-time.
How is Christmas traditionally celebrated in your country? Are there any strange or funny traditions?
For anyone used to snuggling up in front of the fire on Christmas Day, it might sound odd to think of celebrating Christmas with a BBQ. But in New Zealand, Christmas falls in the middle of summer, with long days of sunlight surrounding the festive season. Schools break up for the year just before Christmas and have the following couple of months off for the summer holidays.
Pine trees are sold on nearly every street from the beginning of December to be taken home and decorated, with the beautiful smell of New Zealand pine spreading Christmas cheer throughout the home.
Christian families will head to church or carol services on Christmas Eve and children lay out their stockings to be filled by Santa on his yearly visit. Some say Santa has been known to arrive on water-skis in New Zealand!
Most other traditions are probably very similar to other countries, including leaving a carrot out for Rudolph, Christmas mince pies and a bit of whisky for the jolly man himself. After all, New Zealand is a long way from the North Pole and he needs all the sustenance he can get!
What is your favourite Christmas food and why?
Roast turkey! Without a doubt, and a ham, often served cold and used in picnics on Boxing Day! My favourite dessert has to be my family Christmas pudding with Lemon Brandy Sauce. It’s not a Christmas pudding in our house without Lemon Brandy Sauce. And we always have a slice of the Kiwi-favourite pavlova, a cake-sized meringue with cream and sliced fruit on top (don’t let the Aussies tell you anything else – they try to claim it as their own!)
What would you recommend visitors to your country do during the festive season?
Enjoy the beaches! It’s a different festive atmosphere in New Zealand and we don’t have all the same cosy feeling as if it was cold outside. It’s definitely more relaxed so make the most of the sun! Go to one of the many carol services the night before and enjoy waking up to putting on summer clothes for your Christmas lunch.
Finally, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year?
My husband and I are going back to New Zealand for Christmas there year – we are super excited. We’ve only been away 5 months but we are ready to see our families, especially as my Dad has had some ill health lately. My parents are spending their first Christmas in a new house this year so it will be fun to make some Christmas memories in this new dwelling. We just can’t wait to see our families again.
Read the rest of my Blogmas 2016 posts here!
Cover photo credit: Snorkels to Snow.