Snow-capped trees, warm hot cocoa by a blazing fire, colourful stockings arranged on top of the fire place, warm scarves and sweaters a common sight during Christmastime that brings feelings of happiness and warmth to all. In New Zealand, on the other hand, there is a different kind of warmth. A warmth from the rays of the blazing sun, from the burning of the sand under our feet, and from the smoke rising from the barbecue. Christmas in New Zealand isn't a time for building snowmen and eating roast dinners; instead, we build sandcastles and eat barbecued meats. A Kiwi Christmas consists of three main ingredients: beaches, barbecues, and pohutakawa trees.
Beaches, the first necessity to a Kiwi Christmas. Usually, at the mention of beaches, we'd think of warm golden sand and glittering blue water. Takapuna Beach, Piha, and Hot Water Beach are just some of New Zealand's beaches, well-known for their crystal clean water and beautiful landscapes. A day under the sun with a cool breeze in the air, sounds like paradise right? Not only that, in the Bay of Islands there are opportunities to swim with dolphins, something not many people have had the chance to do in their entire lives. If sandy beaches aren't your 'kinda thang', Goat Island has amazing, crystal clear rock pools with all sorts of sea creatures and an opportunity to ride on a glass-bottomed boat. The kind of fun that comes with frolicking in the cool water on a hot summer's day is not something that most people get to enjoy during Christmas, in a way, it's almost as if it's exclusive to New Zealand.
Another common sight in the usual Kiwi Christmas, is a great big barbecue, mainly for cooking meat or maybe even corn for dinner. The sound of fat sizzling and the smell of different spices and sauces fill up the air and lure hungry people to form a circle around the barbecue, waiting for their turn. And don't forget the delicious taste, salty and slightly sweet.