For the month of December every photo and status I have shared, I have used the hashtag #kiwichristmas and #kiwiliving, it’s my December label. Celebrating Christmas like a local kiwi over the other side of the world away from the United Kingdom, the place I call home. It’s my second Christmas away from home, in 2015 my sister and I celebrated the best day of the year in New York City, this was a dream come true and this year I celebrated the holidays in the Southern Hemisphere in New Zealand with my boyfriend, slightly different.
Celebrating Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is less about snow, hot cocoa, coats and the Queen’s speech and more about sun, sea, sand, cocktails and barbecues, adding to this fact we celebrated the big day 13 hours ahead of the UK, ahead of our family and friends.
New Zealand’s Traditional Christmas Tree
Come the month of December my family and I would put up and decorate a traditional Spruce Christmas tree in England. This type of tree is significant, associated with the celebration of Christmas. Here in New Zealand, the beautiful pohutukawa is regarded and recognised as New Zealand’s Christmas tree. This tree features on Christmas cards and with its beautiful brilliant display of red flowers, which bloom in summer time; the tree triggers summer time, festive holidays, and long days spent with family and friends. Of course you can’t decorate this tree, so a lot of kiwis still decorate a spruce or artificial tree in their own homes.
Tip: Bring a camera to take a beautiful photo of New Zealand’s Pohutukawa Christmas tree. It’s colourful, bright and represents the tradition of summer in this Country.
Swap Christmas Jumpers for a Bikini
Every year back home in the UK I buy myself a new festive and slightly over-the-top Christmas themed jumper. I love Christmas and I love wearing a Christmas jumper, it’s a traditional aspect of celebrating the holidays now. This year in New Zealand with highs of 24 degrees and blue sky I was wearing a pair of shorts, a top and sandals on Christmas day. My backpacked contained a bottle of water, sun cream, hat, bikini and a beach towel. Because Christmas means summer time in New Zealand, I would recommend renting out a ‘bach’ (holiday home), and find a nice beach to get sizzled on Christmas day. And just remember that your family and friends will be back home, celebrating Christmas Eve!
Tip: If you plan to spend your festive holidays in a hot country, don’t fill your suitcase with a Christmas themed jumper. Stick to summer clothes and Christmas themed accessories: earrings, hair accessories and Christmas tops.
Keep the Turkey Alive, BBQ Instead.
Not only would it be too hot to be slaving away over the hob all day, roasting up a turkey and whisking the gravy, New Zealanders do not serve up a traditional full turkey roast dinner, instead kiwis are known for barbecues on the beach and in their back gardens. Dave and I are currently staying in an Air BnB for our Christmas holidays and unfortunately we don’t have a BBQ here, instead we decided to cook up a beautiful Fillet Steak, served with salad and fries for our festive dinner and it was delicious. At first it felt strange not having our traditional Christmas dinner, but we both found it a refreshing way to spend our festive evening.
Tip: BBQ (if possible) and cocktails, nothing too heavy.
Note: A lot of restaurants, cafes and bars are closed on Christmas Day; you will most likely have to cook. So I would recommend popping to a local New World, Pak N Save or Countdown before Christmas to fill up.
Our Christmas Day Events
We celebrated our first Kiwi Christmas in Mt.Maunganui, Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region, which is absolutely stunning. Christmas day morning consisted of traditional aspects playing Christmas songs, making a cup of tea, and opening presents underneath the tree. This was the traditional part! We then skyped our families back home in the UK as they were still celebrating Christmas Eve, we had breakfast outside on our balcony with the sun gleaming on us. We went to the beach, which was filled of tourists. We also walked up The Mount to the summit which is 232m high, the views from the top are just breath taking. I have a few photos to upload with this post to highlight just how beautiful Mt Maunganui and Tauranga area is. We then spent our evening drinking beer, Disaronnu, and red wine, complemented with a delicious steak dinner. We watched movies in the evening and enjoyed seeing a long summers evening on Christmas day.
Tip: Even if you absolutely love Christmas and love the traditional aspects of it, I would recommend trying something new and celebrating the holidays in the Southern Hemisphere. I love snow and I adore winter, but it was a truly amazing day celebrating Christmas in summer. I can now tick it off my bucket list and say that I have celebrated the day a whole 13 hours ahead of my family and friends. Try it chill on the beach, soak up the sun, and sing Christmas songs when you’re swimming in the sea, finish with a BBQ and watch the sun go down.
That’s it for now, I hope you like the sound of my first Christmas celebrating in the Southern Hemisphere. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and will consider trying something different next year! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year J
Thank you, Sadie Chillingworth.
Check in again soon..