A New Zealand Christmas

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, December 27, 2009

The build up to Christmas continued with a visit to the infamous Franklin Road to see the lights.  We knew that the area got very busy in the evening so we arrived before it got dark and headed straight for the ice cream shop - much to Lucy and Dan's delight!  After fab ice cream, we wandered down the road, and by then it was dark enough.  We had a great time looking at all of the different houses and the different styles that people had chosen.  The children's favourite was one which was completely covered in lights and 'danced' when the music came on.  They squealed with excitement - brilliant to watch.  Some folk had gone to so much trouble to put on a fantastic show.  One house was even wrapped up as a present.  There were lots of people wandering around with lots of excited children, even bus loads of folk driving extremely slowly down the main road.  It was quite a cool night so it actually made us feel quite Christmasy!  Afterwards we drove down to the Telecom tree so that the children could go into one of the phone booths to call Santa.  After telling him their wishes and the fact that they had met him last year at his house, their wishes shot up the tree in lights!  They absolutely loved it and talked about it so much on the way home.  We were really proud of them too because they weren't greedy and didn't ask for too much.  The tree was so beautiful, there were even beanbags underneath so that you could lay back and watch the lights.  The only problem was it was very busy.

On the Friday before Christmas Jeff had his works do at Treetops, a fabulous high ropes course just out of Auckland.  He had a fun time and we plan to go back as a family to do the lower courses.  He was very proud of the fact that he did all nine courses and had a good laugh as well.  They then had a BBQ and then a few drinks out in Auckland.  A very different Christmas do - but great fun all the same!

Next came the closest that we were going to get to a pantomime,  a theatre show about how Rudolph got his red nose!  We went with Ed, Anna and the girls and the kids had yet another wonderful evening.  At first Jeff and I were not convinced, we were used to the S-O-T pantomimes with the fab costumes and sets, oh and of course Jonathan Wilkes!  However, once we got over that expectation the whole affair was very entertaining and it was great to sit and watch the kids having such an exciting time.  Lucy was made up after the show when she actually got to meet the characters :-)

Wednesday evening was spent at Maureen and Alan's house catching up with them as well as Larissa, Brent and the girls.  The children played in the swimming pool and had great fun and then we all sat down to a fantastic BBQ - the food wasbrill particularly the sausages!!  It was lovely to catch up with them all and swop pressies as we would not seem them for a few days.  We had had an invite to spend Christmas day with them but declined as we wanted to spend Christmas in our new home.  The build up to Christmas has been great, we have had so many invites to do so much, we certainly feel like we are starting to feel at home here :-)

Christmas Eve came very quickly and the children were sooooooooooooooo excited.  We had planned to watch a Christmas film together and have popcorn and goodies from the UK shop, including Lucy's beloved prawn cocktail crisps!!  Tinkerbell must have heard our plans as she delivered Santa Buddies DVD to the kids swing, much to the children's delight.  They knew it was from her because of the fairy dust that surrounded it!  They cuddled up on the settee, stuffing goodies, so very excited.  Before going to bed they Skyped Nana, Grandad, Grandma and Papa so that they could share some of the excitement with us as well as Emily & Charlotte and the Pine View Posse!  After putting out cakes and beer for Santa and water and carrots for the reindeers it ended up being nearly eleven o'clock before Lucy got to sleep!  Christmas Eve to me didn't seem quite as magical as it has in years past, probably because of the heat and knowing that many folk in the UK were going to experience a white Christmas!  There didn't seem to be the same silence outside as we always experienced in the UK, probably because it is summer here and folk are entertaining outside!

Jeff and I finally got to bed at 1am to be awoken again at 3am to Lucy shouting, 'Mummy and Daddy, he's been!'  We patiently told her that it was too early and that she needed to go back to bed.  I laid in bed and could hear ripping paper!!  I crept downstairs to find Lucy in the darkness of her room opening the presents that Santa had left her in her stocking!!  After explaining the fact that she had literally just gone to bed, she was happy enough to leave the rest of the stocking until the morning and to get some more sleep!  Well another 3 hours as her and Dan were up ripping open their stocking pressies at 6am! This is the first time that this has happened, every other year it has been at least 8am before they have woken up - this year they were just soooooooooooooo excited!  By 7am they had us downstairs so that they could open the rest of the pressies under the tree.  There were lots of squeals of delight, so many happy smiles and much laughter - just what the doctor ordered.  Christmas IS here :-)  Once again we Skyped Mum's and Dad's on their Christmas Eve so that they could join in the experience.  It felt VERY strange knowing that in the UK it was still Christmas Eve and everyone was getting ready to go to bed!

Christmas lunch was glazed ham, roast veg and potatoes with lots of salads and prawns for me.  It was over 30 on the deck so we sat at our new table which we had dressed for the occasion.  We even had crackers!  We had a good time, it just felt really strange sitting in such heat knowing full well that the UK had snow.  Neither of us have ever experienced a southern hemisphere Christmas before!  We then packed up the leftovers and cheese and crackers and headed for the beach, a long with the many other folk who had done the same!  We then spent a glorious afternoon and early evening lazing about on the beach while the children played in the sea.  A perfect end to Christmas day.  We planned for an early night for Lucy and Daniel but we all ended up watching Santa Claus 2 and Skyping again! 

Boxing day ended up being a quiet affair as all the children wanted to do was play with their toys at home!  It was lovely to spend family time in our new home.  In the evening Glen and Arlene came over for a few drinks (our new neighbours.)  It was lovely to see them and the kids were very excited to show them all their new toys.  We certainly don't seem to have a shortage of things to talk about and we had a good laugh too!

The next two days were spent seeing new friends. We spent Sunday with Jacquie and Scott having a picnic and fishing at Cornwallis then fish and chips at Huia in the evening.  We met Jacquie at the bank when we first arrived in New Zealand, she had already been here 14 weeks.  We swopped numbers and vowed to meet up once we were settled in our new house and hopefully Sunday will be the first of many get togethers!  We had a great day with them both - Jeff was even happier when he found out that Scott was from Sheffield!!  We hope to see them again very soon.  Monday was then spent with Ed, Anna, Amelia and Lydia again whose company we also enjoy.  We met them at the beach for a swim, the kids got on so well and Lucy's confidence grew so much when she was swimming with Amelia, they went quite far out!
Dan was happy playing with Lydia too, he was such a gentleman with her and they also had fun.  We then headed back to our house for a BBQ, beers and Pims!  It was a lovely afternoon spent chatting about the UK and New Zealand and everyones plans for the future.  The children were absolutely no problem, they all got on so well and just played ALL afternoon - exploring under the house, dressing up and scooter and running races around the house!  We look forward to getting together again soon :-)

We have also included some photos from the school magazine in this entry - Lucy made it into the magazine with her class, building a story telling seat  :-)
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