Posted by Donkey on behalf of Amy [@cat_knits]
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
Er no. It’s really not.
“In the bleak mid-winter…”
Again no. It’s sunny. I’m wearing flip flops (or jandals) and high factor sunscreen.
“Snow is falling, all around us…”
Right. It’s perfectly clear that my traditional enjoyment of Christmas through the medium of song isn’t going to be quite as effective here. As previously discussed by @pixeldiva I’ve been hearing the Salvation Army Brass band on a morning and it’s just weird. This morning they were actually playing In the Bleak Mid-Winter, with very wry smiles behind those music stands.
@CatKnits and Co moved to NZ earlier this year and slipped into life without a care in the world (mostly). I did not stop to think for a second how FUNDAMENTALLY ODD Christmas in the summer would be. I coped with July and August being cold. I coped with my October birthday being positively pleasant weather-wise. However, as November wore on I began to get a bit uncomfortable and then as December dawned I might as well have come out in hives. The weather is fricking glorious and the schools have broken up for their long holiday. Brain melty…
*All* my Christmas traditions are apparently based around being cold, dark and miserable weather, fairy lights and warmed alcoholic beverages. The (real) tree was decorated to the sounds of the Muppet Christmas Carol, markets were wandered around with Gluhwein, Christmas cards were written in the warm glow of the tree lights and Christmas candles while wearing cosy hand knit stuff. It’s a time of year I look forward to for doing this stuff, usually with my equally enthused sister in tow. MrCat(doesn’t)Knits is hardcore bah humbug so doesn’t usually play.
None of these things are an option this year for one reason or another (no longer sharing a continent with the sister, not dark till 10, no one knows what Gluhwein is, unless they’ve been to Europe, those hives would be a surety in wool anything) But, ever resourceful in a Pollyanna, nauseating kind of way, I am resolved to enjoy a Christmas Kiwi style, and embrace these new opportunities…
Bring on the pohutukawa trees, with their fabulous crimson flowers (real Christmas red), looking like ridiculous pompoms in the (often really rather alarming) Wellington wind. Christmas cards shall no longer be ‘a thing’ as we’ve received bugger all, it cost a shameful amount to send a pile to the UK and writing them in the sunshine with a wine isn’t that enjoyable. The wine consumption goes much more smoothly without handwriting anything. There may not be Christmas markets of the same pedigree, but there are wonderful meeting opportunities, enjoying company and socialising (i.e. wine) in the sun, or at least outside on a deck behind a windbreak. I can wear wool in July, and fondly remember when it used to be December.
The only sticking point is the tree. I ruddy loved the process of creating a lovely, ‘grown up’ tree, in classic colours after finding the optimum size and shade of green in a warehouse of hundreds. I love the smell and the cats seem to really enjoy drinking all the water out the bottom. A real tree just won’t cut it here; the ones I’ve seen are strange, limp things that look a bit like something from a Tim Burton effort, rejecting baubles and lights as they slide off sadly.
I went wild and bought a wooden tree (yes, yes, all trees are wood), all laser cut and hipster and reusable which I am pretty in love with but the cats won’t even play with it and it’s tough to attach baubles to.
I need better traditions for the decorating and loving of this tree (it cost so much this is mandatory), so that the next time I decorate one in the UK I pine (boom boom, come on, it’s Christmas) for my trendy bauble repellent one…
When I was ten I spent christmas in Australia, where my aunt faithfully recreated the christmas we all inherited from my grandparents. And then added a trip to the beach.
We spent christmas in Wellington one year. The horizontal rain made it feel like home.
Cat, for what it’s worth I spent almost all my childhood Christmasses in Africa and it was the same problem – hot and bright and sunny! However my mother is like a Sherman tank for tradition so we moved around the continent with an eight foot dissembled fake Douglas Fir and about seventy little boxes of ornaments and sod the palm trees outside it was CHRISTMAS IN HERE. 🙂
Other than having my mother for a mother (I do recommend her highly but that probably won’t help now) you can try to find some festive or celebratory warm weather plans! My Hawaii friends, their family have this whole beach bonfire tradition on Christmas Eve which always sounded lovely to me.
And maybe find out what fun, kiwi-specific things make up a Kiwi Christmas and try them yourselves until you find a few good ones to work into your own pantheon of tradition – that way your time there will be carried forward throughout the rest of your Christmasses!
I’d be tempted to have an NZ Christmas now, them have a full on midwinter feast in July.
What a fantastic image that conjures up Krissa, it’s Christmas regardless of where and temperature…definitely something I am working on!
The good weather is due to run out tomorrow (Christmas Eve) so a horizontally rainy and chilly one just might be on the cards, which is strangely pleasing! (Don’t tell)
And yes Clair, I am totally doing midwinter feast next year, didn’t understand why so many did this year but now it makes *perfect* sense. Knitwear and dark evenings ahoy…