Our Christmas officially kicked off with the Nelson commuinity Christmas Carols, outside the Cathedral. So many people turned out for the event. They had closed the street and people were sat on blankets and chairs, or standing. There was a choir and band, as well as the Reverand and members of the local council. Plus volunteers were selling song sheets and candles with proceeds going to charity.
Unfortunately, we think Dave got duped into buying the 2011 songsheets, with a slightly different order of hymns- hope the money still went to a good cause!!
It was a little windy so our candles kept blowing out, but the sentiment was so cute. Plus it looked really magical when it got darker for the area to be aglow with candlelight. It really helped us all get in the Christmas mood.
After the carols, the kids went home and we went to the pub for a couple of Christmassy drinks. I was a little sad to be missing our traditional Christmas Eve drinks with old school friends in Chiswick. We all go to the same pub every year and its a lovely way to catch up with everyone that I don't see very often.
Our Christmas morning started early with the girls waking us up to open stockings. Father Christmas had done a fair amount of his Christmas shopping in New Zealand this year!!
After stockings in my Mum's room, we had breakfast and got dressed ready to go for a Christmas day hike! Our plan was to walk to the treeline hut on Mount Arthur and enjoy a Christmas lunch picnic there.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the hike was perfect with the trees providing plenty of shade on our climb up. It took us about an hour to reach the hut, but passed quickly with a number of games of 'Who am I'.
We were pleased to find we awere the only people at the hut so we could commandeer the table and benches to spread out our feast. We enjoyed glasses of chilled rose wine, alongside ham sandwiches and cranberry sauce, carrots and pumpkin houmous (amazing), camembert, salad and homemade chicken liver pate. Such a change from our normal Christmas lunch of roast turkey, but perfect in the heat after our climb.
Char and I had bought santa hats for everyone whilst in Queenstown so that we could feel Christmassy, we took a few group shots of everyone in their hats...
before taking some fun jumping ones...
Everyone loves jumping photos, right?
After a very steep descent via a different route that had people tripping and slipping their way down the overgrown path, we made a quick stop at the beach on our way home.
Obviously lots of other people had the same idea to hit the beach on Chrisamas day, everyone was in really good spirits and really friendly.
After the beach we headed back to my Uncle's house to get ready for our evening feast. We celebrated with some fizz on their balcony before heading inside for supper. Char and I had bought crackers for everyone, along with a giant cracker for the table. We all enjoyed wearing our hats/crowns and masks, blowing horns and telling jokes from the crackers before our meal. My aunt had cooked a delicious Beef Bourguignon with dauphinoise potatoes, followed by lemon pudding. We then took the opportunity to skype friends and family in the UK who were just waking up for Christmas day!
This Christmas was very different from Christmas in the UK, but it was really fun to see how people enjoy Christmas on the other side of the world, plus it was great to be with family that we don't see too often!
Have you ever spent Christmas in a different climate to the one you're used to? Which do you prefer, a hot or cold Christmas?