Christmas Traditions in NZ:
Christmas Eve and Boxing Day: Christmas is preceded by Christmas Eve on the 24th of December, followed by Boxing Day on the 26th of December. In New Zealand Christmas Eve often includes attending a midnight church mass, while Boxing day is traditionally a day to spend with family and continue the festivities of Christmas. Many Kiwis like to go to the Boxing Day Horse Races.
Gifts and gift giving: Gifts are usually wrapped in red, green or festive coloured wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree to be opened on Christmas morning. The Christmas stocking tradition is popular with children. This is a small sack (shaped often like a boot), which is filled with small gifts from Father Christmas (Santa) and opened on Christmas morning.
Christmas Cards: Cards are another popular aspect of the Kiwi Christmas. For family and friends that can’t be near, seasons greeting are sent in the form of Christmas cards.
Family: Family is the key element to Christmas not just in New Zealand, but all around the world.
Christmas Trees: Putting up and decorating a Christmas tree in a home is part of almost every kiwi family’s Christmas traditions. Both real and artificial trees are popular.
Food: Christmas lunch/dinner in New Zealand consists of the traditional roast with ham, vegetable, potatoes, gravy and desert of Christmas cake or pudding or other traditional Kiwi desserts such as Pavlova. Because Christmas is during summer in NZ, many families prefer a lighter Christmas Day meal of a BBQ, often enjoyed at the beach, outdoors or by the pool.
Summer holidays: Family’s spend time at a Bach (holiday home), or relaxing at the beach. Many businesses close for two weeks during Christmas.
Upcoming Christmas events in Auckland City
Britomart Christmas Markets.
Takutai Square: Britomart Christmas Markets, local seasonal produce (strawberries, plums and asparagus) festive Christmas goodies, cakes cookies, etc.
Complimentary gift wrapping service available at the Atrium and The Pavillions.
When/Where: Britomart (Gore Street & Atrium on Takutai), 15/12/2012, entry is free.
Christmas Decorations around the city:
Keep a look out for these festive decorations
Queen Street Christmas Lights, Telecom Christmas Tree, Santa on Whitcoulls Corner, Smith and Caughey’s Windows, Doves on Durham Lane, Angels in Elliott Street, Christmas Chains on High Street.
I’ve attached a photo of the lights on the Telecom Christmas Tree which I visited on Tuesday night, more photos to come. A great place to go and sit on the beanbags underneath the tree and look at the lights.