Despite having lived my entire life in New Zealand (except for a few months away in the rest of the world), I always imagine Christmas cold, dark, glowing with candlelight and smelling somewhere between Mrs Cratchit's Steamed Christmas pudding*, a pomander ball and a mandarin.
|How I think of Christmas (view of my mantlepiece)|
But let's get real. Christmas in New Zealand is most often hot, and sunny and smells of new-mown lawn or hay or those gorgeous white Christmas lilies or smoky BBQ's or wet togs and wet dog at the beach. It's wearing sun hats and jandals and going to the do-it-yourself shop to get something for Dad's summer project, and the Jaycees are having a fundraiser sausage sizzle at the doorway.
It's relaxing and extends well into January, and all the kids have at least 6 weeks off school. It's the Big Holidays and catching up with friends and drinks and eating in the garden and swallows skimming over the river, bright summer flowers and not a robin nor a skerrick of holly to be seen.
This is a card that I bought just for you. I really did. Inside it says "Warmest wishes for this wonderful season".
But pretend, when I sent it to you, I scribbled that out and wrote:
This is the closest we get to a white Christmas in New Zealand.
Big Christmas hugs and peace and love and fun to you and your friends and family this Christmas time, wherever you are.
Love from Kate at The Last Visible Dog.
*"Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that! That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered: flushed, but smiling proudly: with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top."