I don’t mean to rub it in but Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere is pretty awesome! I’ve enjoyed two holiday seasons in New Zealand and wanted to share a bit about what a kiwi Christmas looks like.
Deep in the South Island of New Zealand, around the 45th and 44th parallel, Santa hats and Christmas ornaments sit next to outdoor grills and beach towels at the local shops. It’s not the warmest place on Earth but everyone tends to enjoy a nice holiday at the beach at some point during their break. They also take their holidays very seriously and people get ample time off to celebrate with friends and family. The biggest difference for me is the sunlight. It’s daylight here until very late into the evening. I’ve witnessed sunsets past 9pm and I’m convinced it doesn’t get completely dark at any point in the night (I haven’t stayed up late enough to prove this theory).
In the food department, kiwis enjoy Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, and Christmas cookies, all of which are basically renditions of what we just call cake, pudding, and cookies with a festive touch. They too enjoy feasts of food but instead of roasting veggies and meats in an oven, they slap things on the BBQ. There aren’t many hot drinks during warm weather so eggnog is not for sale at the market.
There are still Christmas trees but they seem out of place when there isn’t snow on the ground. I haven’t seen many people decorate the lawns or doors much but perhaps I’m in the wrong part of town. I’ve seen the postal service workers dressed up in Santa and elf costumes. People still put those ridiculous reindeer antlers on the car antennas here too.
So those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who may be snowed in, rained out, or freezing by a fire, take comfort in knowing the traditional Christmas celebration may not fit in the warmer climates. I’m not complaining though. In fact, I’m gearing up to go to the beach today for a swim. But there is nothing like a white Christmas with family gathered around the fire and opening presents with a hot chocolate in hand. Nothing.
Merry Christmas from down under!