It goes without saying that this Christmas is completely different from last year’s, back in England where the snow lay round about (deep and crisp and even!).
For a start it’s significantly hotter. With a very humid air stream over the North Island from the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Evan, it feels as if you’re Christmas shopping in a steamer. Even the wandering minstrels are dressed for the heat.
And the shopping centre’s Christmas tree is gleaming, not with frost, but from the hot sun’s rays.
When the breeze does kick in, it brings with it gasps of jasmine and magnolia and the heavy tarry smell of steaming tarceal.
New Zealand’s very own Christmas tree, the Pohutakawa is in full bloom, its flowers like bright red Christmas baubles, strung along the branches, all along the water’s edge.
These are the Christmas memories of my childhood. Along with the Christmas food – fresh salads and glazed ham, and strawberries the size of golf balls.
Santa even ditches the coat and boots on his journey south from the North Pole, and regularly shows up dressed for the occasion, in shorts and a t-shirt.
But like everywhere else in the world, it’s the kids who get excited about Christmas. This bunch of preschoolers were singing their little hearts out in Howick the village like suburb of Auckland I grew up in. You couldn’t help but smile, and sing along…
That’s big kids as well as little kids, getting excited. I have to confess that even my heart skipped a little when I saw this sign outside the toy shop.
But as I write this, the clock has moved forward and my Englishman and Son are winging their way to join us on Christmas Day. The cats and dog are all curled up in bed asleep and I’m remembering all those Christmas Eves I stayed up late to help Santa drink his beer and eat his mince pie, and fill the stockings.
There’s no more sleeps to go. It’s finally here.
Merry Christmas everyone!