Now that I’ve experienced my fair share of Southern Hemisphere Christmases, I thought it was time to share my thoughts on swapping snow for sand. Having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve always associated Christmas with reindeer, sleigh rides and candy canes. I love wrapping myself up in sweaters and sipping mulled wine by the fire. Sure, there’s much to love about Christmas on the beach, but plenty to miss about a cosy winter Christmas. Let’s dive in, shall we?
What I miss about winter Christmas…
- Winter is a dreary time, but having the holidays to look forward to really makes all the difference.
- The nostalgic (commercial) side of Christmas doesn’t quite work in the Southern Hemisphere and it all feels a bit disjointed to me. I remember my first Christmas in Hawaii at the age of eight. I was so confused when I saw Santa in board shorts on a surfboard. Christmas carols and movies don’t quite work either, so I find it harder to get into the festive spirit.
- New Zealand businesses shut down over the holiday period. While many people LOVE this, I am somewhat indifferent as a freelancer. It also makes for very busy roads and beaches. I personally prefer to escape during the cold months.
- I love a traditional Christmas dinner and my family goes all out on Christmas Eve with twelve (carb-heavy) dishes. I can’t justify eating my body weight in perogies if I’m going to have to put on a swimsuit a few hours later.
- Christmas lights aren’t a necessity for a summer Christmas because the sun doesn’t set until 9PM. Traditional pine Christmas trees also seem out of place.
- You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a Christmas market, especially in places like the UK and Germany where the food is incredible and everyone’s drinking mulled wine.
- Getting cosy (aka hibernating) and not having to leave your house for days on end is particularly appealing.
- Everyone who visits brings delicious food, which makes leaving your house even more unnecessary.
What I love about summer Christmas…
- Long daylight hours mean plenty of time to catch up with friends and family. The warmer weather means picnics on the beach and evening swims in the ocean.
- Frequent BBQs are another reason to love a summery holiday season. We just had friends over last night and it was delightful.
- The outdoor cinema game is next-level and it’s nice being able to sit on a lawn chair, with a drink in hand, rather than freezing in your car.
- Christmas markets exist in the Southern Hemisphere as well and you can wear sunnies and shorts.
- There are endless options for holiday parties and they are actually enjoyable.
- It’s prime concert and festival season and New Zealand has an incredible festival scene. Two of the best are Laneway in January and Nostalgia in February. [Here’s a blog post I wrote on why Nostalgia’s my favourite festival ever…]
- Summer holidays are an excuse to take extended trips to different parts of the country or Australia.
- To be fair, the food and drink options are excellent as well:
- Pavolva is bomb and you can load it up with all the fresh fruit of your choosing.
- There are grazing tables galore. Seriously, the platter game is strong in Australasia.
- It’s an excuse to eat ice cream on the daily. The scoop below was from a small shop in New Plymouth.
- Fresh fruit on the side of the road makes for the perfect road trip snack.
Photo by Nancy Zhou
In all honesty, I haven’t felt very festive this year. There’s a lot on my plate at the moment and I’m not-so secretly waiting until after my thirtieth birthday next week to officially begin celebrating. Another reason I might not be prepared to fully embrace a Kiwi Christmas is the fact that my family’s not here. I’m very lucky that Nick’s family has always welcomed me in with open arms and Christmas with them is always fun!
Adopting a sunnier disposition towards summer Christmas isn’t that hard, really. If you’ve experienced the holidays in both hemispheres, which do you like more?