Preparing for a Kiwi Christmas

December 18, 2013

First and foremost, my parents arrive in Christchurch in 2 days. How crazy is that?! They’re in Wellington right now, and its nearly killing me (and them too, I am sure) that they are a 1 hour plane ride away. I seriously can’t wait until Friday!

In preparation for their arrival, and my favorite holiday, I’ve been trying to make things around here just a little more festive. But of course there has to be a problem. There’s a few, actually.

1. Christmas shopping is impossible in New Zealand. When you’re an expat, 90% of the people you need/want to buy for are overseas. Shipping is costly, so you really want to be positive they’re going to like freaking love whatever you spent several hours wages just on shipping. Plus, how long can you stretch out the New Zealand thing? Like, after t-shits, tea towels, soap… what can you get that is small and shippable, yet hopefully slightly appreciated? This leaves online shopping (oh, Amazon), which is incredibly impersonal but so much more likely to result in a gift that gets used/appreciated/not put in a bottom drawer.

2. (Ok this isn’t a problem, but it’s worth mentioning) Christmas in the summer is weird. I know, I know. We signed up for this. It should actually be really awesome. Christmas barbie on the beach? Festive picnic in the park? 16 hours of light instead of like, 9. Thats practically more Christmas. But listening to Jingle Bells and White Christmas and Let it Snow – because all of those are on loop in our malls, just like yours – it’s just weird. Maybe its also because I’ve been working non-stop, but there just isn’t a Christmas vibe.

3. The tree. Its pretty common here to have a fake Christmas Tree. They’re stupid expensive ($100 for a cheapie, $500+ for a decent one) and in my opinion they’re also just stupid. So we bought a real tree. $40. Deal. Turns out there’s a glitch (of course there’s a glitch). New Zealand does not make, sell, or appreciate a live Christmas Tree stand. Like the kind you pour water into and screw into the trunk of the tree. I know Americans know the thing. It. Does. Not. Exist. In the local hardware store (like a Lowe’s) I got laughed at. Their honest suggestion? River rocks in a bucket and she’ll be right.


So we have the tree and we have the bucket. We don’t have the rocks. But we have a sweet live tree leaning against the corner of the living room, and that’s festive right?

Bucket good and hidden by presents!

The rest of the festivities around the house:

Ok, I just read this and realized it sounds a bit negative. I am way too excited to be negative. So I hope you’ll take it as just a little holiday winge (Kiwi slang alert) because really things are fantastic. Can’t wait for Friday!

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