What’s Christmas like in New Zealand?
In most parts of the world, Christmas is all about cosy meals indoors with family gathered around the fire, snow piling up in drifts outside, and cups of hot mulled wine at the end of the night.
New Zealand is the complete opposite!
If you’ve got your first ever Christmas in Summer coming up, get ready for an entirely new experience!
The weather plays a huge role in the celebrations, and considering December 25 is right in the middle of Summer for New Zealand and Australia, this typically means it is spent outdoors as much as possible.
Many Kiwis will head to the beach for swimming and sunbathing, or will simply spend the day outdoors with family and friends playing backyard cricket, enjoying meals on the barbeque, and playing with new toys.
Foodwise, there may be one or two hot dishes (such as roast turkey or ham), but you can expect far more ‘hot day’ meals, such as salads, snacks, and cold drinks like champagne. Fortunately, all the outdoor activities help balance out the large meals typically enjoyed during the occasion!
Another element that you might not consider is nature itself. Instead of snow everywhere, we have blooming flowers and bright green trees. Plus, one of the most special plants in New Zealand comes to life just in time for the festive season – the Pohutukawa. This native tree is abundant in the North Island and the upper parts of the South, and blooms with bright red flowers right up to Christmas, giving it the nickname of the ‘New Zealand Christmas tree’.
Finally, another major difference is the fact that Christmas is right in the middle of the long Summer holidays. So rather than a quick few days off, it’s when all the schools and universities are closed for the season, so it arrives during a truly laid-back and relaxed time of year. It’s the perfect time to get out and spend some of that time off exploring, so consider taking an eco tour in Auckland to see some of the Summery sights!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist