‘TIS the season to be jolly………..

Christmas means different things to different people. The answer you get will depend on who you ask. For some, it is the season of giving and caring for those less fortunate than ourselves; for others, it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. For me, it is about spending time with family and having one of the most relaxing days out of the whole year!

I LOVE Christmas. I enjoy my Christmas shopping, picking out nice gifts for my closest family members. I sing along when I hear Christmas songs playing in the shopping malls, I make the most of the late-night shopping where most stores open until midnight. Erecting the Christmas tree has always been a family event. Ok, it is a rather naked and stick-like tree compared to the beautifully decorated trees in the malls, but a lot of love and effort goes into our tree!

Christmas in Scotland is magical. We wrap up snuggly in scarves, gloves and hats to brave the cold and everybody eagerly awaits a white Christmas (there must be snow-fall on the 25th to officially be a white Christmas). Once we eat the turkey dinner, we are too stuffed (pardon the pun) to do anything else but sit and watch Christmas shows on TV. Santa, elves, robins, mistletoe, snowmen, turkey…we have always had a traditional Christmas in my household.

Christmas in Scotland

That is until 2005, when we had our first Christmas in New Zealand…summer in the Southern Hemisphere!!

We swapped a thick layer of winter clothes for shorts and a singlet and smothered on the sun cream. It is around 25 degrees Celsius, the sun is blazing and there is not a cloud in the sky. We traded Christmas movies for front-yard cricket. Rather than taking a hot shower, we are diving into the closest pool to cool off. Instead of turkey, steak and sausages are sizzling on the BBQ.

Christmas in New Zealand

Is it ironic that our Christmas cards here in New Zealand even have snowmen gracing the covers when the chances of snowing at this time of year (or ever) are highly unlikely?

It is definitely not the kind of Christmas day I have always looked forward to, but having been here now for almost seven years, I have grown to appreciate Christmas in New Zealand for a number of reasons:

1. Compared to the UK, there is a lot less pressure to go all out and buy the most expensive or extravagant presents; most people wouldn’t dream of raking up any kind of debt for Christmas. If they can’t afford it, they don’t buy it.

2. Christmas is purely about spending time with friends and family, not worrying about how much money you have got to spend on gifts.

3. Gifts are greatly appreciated, but definitely not expected.

This Christmas is my first as a mother and the lead up to the big day has been wonderful, taking my daughter to visit Santa and watching her stare admirably at the decorations on the Christmas tree (or perhaps she is working out a way to get the chocolates off the tree and into her lap!).

Wherever you are in the world, however you celebrate, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may all of your dreams come true in 2012.

Until next year!