It is winter here in Auckland — we’re having a mild winter but it is still nice and brisk outside and it gets dark early. I walk through the streets of Auckland to get home in the evening and it is dark and cold and feels like Christmas. And I want to hum Christmas carols to myself and break into the holiday spirit.
Except it’s not Christmas. And it isn’t going to be for a long time. You don’t realize how much you associate cold and Christmas until you don’t have it. I’ve been a bit homesick lately and I think it’s because I feel like I should be drinking eggnog and chilling around the fire with my family. I always laugh at people who celebrated Christmas in July, but lately I’ve been thinking we should celebrate Christmas in July!
Christmas in NZ is wonderful. The entire country just about shuts down for it and many companies (including mine) have an extended holiday and almost everyone in the office leaves. We spent three weeks traveling the South Island last Christmas and really enjoyed it. But it felt like summer vacation (because it was) rather than Christmas. We went snorkeling with dolphins and tubed through rivers and hiked to glaciers and camped in the great outdoors sporting Christmas-themed T-shirts and shorts. On Christmas day we had an outdoor BBQ with my partner’s family and ran around in the grass playing with the grandkids — not exactly what I’d call ‘traditional’.
I do love that you get an extended vacation in the summertime. But my body clock hasn’t quite adjusted. One of the streets in town has lights strung up across the road in blue and white and every time I see them I notice a bit of Christmas excitement creeping in only to be cruelly reminded I have 5 months to go!