Wondering what Christmas in New Zealand looks like? For international visitors, it may seem strange celebrating the festive season without snow, boughs of holly and the crackling fires you usually associate with the holidays. A Southern Hemisphere Christmas is just a bit different!
Here are 5 sure fire signs that it’s almost Christmas in New Zealand:
1. The New Zealand Christmas trees are in bloom.
Around mid-December, vibrant red blooms start to appear on the NZ native pohutukawa trees, which is why these trees are also called New Zealand Christmas trees. Want to show your friends back home you’re celebrating the holidays in NZ? Don a Santa hat, a pair of jandals and sit in the shade of one of these summer beauties!
2. A giant Santa appears on Queen Street in Auckland.
The massive Whitcoull’s Santa usually appears in November and keeps a watchful eye on all the naughty and nice people of Auckland throughout the festive period.
3. The Stray buses turn into reindeer and the Stray drivers turn into Santa/Santa’s elves.
Around December, a curious thing happens to those big orange Stray buses travelling around the country.
Some of them morph into reindeer!
Others turn into giant orange sleighs driven by one of Santa or his elves…
It’s a fun and magical time of year to be Straying, that’s for sure! (And if you’re lucky enough to snap one of these happy holiday buses or drivers, make sure you tag #straynz so we can see too.)
4. The New Zealanders get a bit creative with their songs.
When you live somewhere that has more sunshine than snow for the holidays, the traditional Christmas songs sound a bit silly. This year, Air New Zealand and a local news program came up with their own warm weather songs to celebrate the season, New Zealand-style! (Warning: they do get stuck in your head!)
5. BBQs and beach parties, catered by Santa’s helpers.
Nothing says Kiwi Christmas more than a BBQ on a sunny beach or in one of our gorgeous parks. Those Santa Stray drivers know how to cook a mean barbie too! You can count on lots of celebration with your new Stray mates throughout December!
What’s your favourite sign it’s almost Christmas in New Zealand? Share your photos and show us!