To a lot of people Christmas brings visions of the colder temperatures of winter, with its snow and ice, and cuddling up in front of a warm fire. Here in New Zealand it is summer, or supposed to be. Once Guy Fawkes is over on the 5th November, the advertisers earmark Christmas as the next big event. According to the calendar September was the beginning of spring, but each year we wonder if the powers that be in charge of the seasons actually got that memo as the country is still swinging between hints of it and, as the song goes, ‘four seasons in one day’.
The Pohutukawa trees are beginning to bloom, with their striking red tufts of blossom in amongst the green. They’re known here as the New Zealand Christmas trees and are a sure sign that the festive season is growing closer. Christmas Day is often spent on the beach with family and friends and is an excuse to fire up the barbeque. And of course one can’t forget that famous Kiwi dessert, the pavlova, although there is still the traditional fare of a roast meal, Christmas cake, pudding, and the pulling of crackers.
There is no snow or winter wonderland in sight to the extent that when we had snow here a while back – the first such fall since the 1930s – my daughter, who had never seen it up close before, kept saying that it was just like the pictures on the Christmas cards.
To celebrate the upcoming holidays and to say a big thanks for the opportunity to share my blog on the subject, I’m offering an ebook copy of my novel Cat’s Quill to one reader who comments on this post.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand, sharing her home with her twin daughters, at least during the holidays, when one of them isn’t away at university. Her son has left home and started his own family, although she claims she is too young to be a grandmother already. Her three cats are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching and has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and a librarian. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction club and plays piano for her local church and violin for a local orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.