For people of New Zealand, Christmas is not about snowy streets and chilling nights but the saintly shining sun overhead. Unlike other parts of the world where Christmas is celebrated in the snowy winter season, it arrives in the sunny summer season in New Zealand. Christmas in New Zealand is celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm. For New Zealanders, it is a time of throwing parties, exchanging gifts, and planning trips to beaches. Shops and malls are decorated with images of Father Christmas dressed up in his red cloak and a white beard. Though, many shops use snow scenes to attract customers and generate revenue. Pohutukawa is a tree that mainly grows in the coastal area of North Island. It grows abundantly in New Zealand in southern summer and is characterized by brilliant red blossoms. These red blossoms make it the Christmas tree of New Zealand.
The traditions of Christmas are not very old in New Zealand and can be dated back to 18th century. English settlers, when came to New Zealand in the 18th century, brought these traditions and customs along with them. Christmas traditions in New Zealand have seen significant changes in the last two or three decades. The persona of Father Christmas has changed into Santa Claus which is quite similar to the Santa Claus of United States. Maori culture has influenced Christmas traditions in New Zealand. The spirits and creatures mentioned in the Maori culture resemble the elves and gnomes of European Christmas traditions. People in New Zealand hold a special service to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. New Zealanders lead a simple life. Not many hotels are found here and engage shepherds to take care of their flocks. They try to make this celebration more evocative by tending their flocks just like the first Christmas celebrated. With this, they bring out the true meaning of Christmas.
In New Zealand, traditional Christmas dinner includes roasted turkey, vegetables, and sauces. The menu can also consist of mince pies and chopped dried fruit mixture. Christmas dessert boasts of rich fruity Christmas pudding served with brandy sauce. During this holiday season, splendid parties and family get-togethers are arranged with mouth watering cuisines, special wines, and enthralling music.
Christmas in New Zealand is celebrated with gusto. Here are some more interesting facts about Christmas celebration in New Zealand.