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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Part of the Christmas fun in the central city is Santa’s sleigh, parked on the ground floor of The Crossing.  As we approached it there were several elves in Santa hats sitting inside, but they quickly disappeared.  A sign warned that feeding or riding on the reindeer is strictly forbidden, but people are welcome to sit in the sleigh for photos (how could I resist?).

Ruth in Santa’s sleigh

I’m always pleased to see free family entertainment like this.  If you’re planning to bring children into town there’s also Ballantyne’s window with the story of Santa’s Lost Letter.  All lots of fun, but I wish there was more acknowledgement of the Summer Solstice at this time of year.

We can enjoy the festive season
for me, mid-summer is the reason

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Our gifts for the U.K. were posted on the Friday before the Monday Christmas deadline.  The daughters received them the following Friday, two and a half weeks before Christmas.  Luckily they are well brought up daughters who wouldn’t dream of opening their presents early.

Yesterday I went to the Post Shop to send more gifts for a January birthday, and met a friend who was posting her family Christmas gifts to Japan.  I asked whether she was worried they might not arrive in time as the deadline had passed, but she told me parcels usually take only three days to get to Japan, even in December.  That’s quicker than a letter sent elsewhere in N.Z. these days.  I do wonder whether NZ Post really needs to advertise such an early deadline.

Posting box with extra slot

Near the Post Shop I noticed this posting box with a difference.  The lower slot must be good for a child, or a person in a wheelchair, or perhaps for Santa’s elves.  With the continuing drop in posted letters and cards I guess they’re trying to be inclusive.  I’d be more impressed if the price of postage went down, or even stayed the same for more than a year.  These days stamps on letters are almost never franked, and a couple of friends have told me they soak off the unmarked stamps and re-use them.  I haven’t done that yet, but it must be tempting for anyone on a limited budget.

To send by post is far from cheap
as prices ever upwards creep.

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Along with thousands of others we went to watch the Santa Parade.  After years of taking part we have a soft spot for the parade, and appreciate that its current route is very close to home.  We took our folding chairs and chose a spot close to the Fire Fighters’ Memorial.

Waiting for the Parade

Watching the crowd beforehand is almost as good as seeing the parade, with children dressed in a myriad of costumes.  We were surprised at the number of people pushing their way up and down the footpath while the parade was on.

The parade took over an hour to pass with an amazing cavalcade of floats and people.  Some were old favourites, some were new, some were strange.  There were bands, gymnasts, ethnic and youth groups, steam punkers, and some vehicles whose only purpose seemed to be to promote their business.

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There was just one pipe band.  I was reminded of the days when I used to take two small daughters to the Auckland Santa Parade, and one would start to complain loudly as soon as a bagpipe sounded in the distance.

The airport fire truck shot out jets of water, welcome on a hot day, someone else had a bubble device, and foamy ‘snow’ came from Santa’s giant sleigh.  This was great entertainment for young and old, and an excellent introduction to the festive season.

The sight of Santa’s giant sleigh
means Christmas now is on its way.

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This
time
last year
at Christmas
I visited you
now you’re only a memory.
Fam’ly in other hemisphere and diff’rent time zone
not the same as being right here.
Just husband and cat
share this year’s
season
of
joy

 

© Ruth Gardner

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The chestnut trees are in full flower along the City Promenade.  I love their pretty candles:

By the Bridge of Remembrance there are more conventional Christmas decorations:

The entrance to the Arts Centre Clock Tower is festooned with recycled ornaments:

At the beach the green and red seaweed looked Christmassy:

My personal favourite is the feijoa flowers which enhance my garden at this time of year:

‘The festive season’s marked with these
alternatives to Christmas trees.’

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We were surprised to find Santa Claus at the beach this morning.  He must have been hot as the temperature was 30 degrees.   The children were pleased to see him.  Apparently these are photo opportunities organised by Kiwisanta.photo.  They would certainly make a lovely family Christmas card.

“With Santa Claus down by the sea
your photo helps save memory.”

 

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Shops have started to set up Christmas displays.  Our supermarket already has mince pies and ‘Christmas meringues’ for sale.  The display I find most attractive is this lovely Christmas tree complete with candles.

There are several of them in full flower at Waimairi Beach.  This particular one has a cabbage tree beside it, for a bi-cultural display.

“A tree with candle and with cone
can definitely set the tone.”

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December is filled with end-of-year functions.   There are meals at restaurants, BYO picnics, shared lunches & desserts, and simply getting together with friends.  Baking happens more often than at any other time of the year.  This morning I made cheese puffs for the WEA Xmas lunch.

cheese-puffs-small

This is the third batch I’ve made in a week.  Not to mention spicy rhubarb cake, chocolate brownies, etc.

The WEA event had a great community atmosphere with several groups presenting items.  Our play-reading group read ‘A Politically Correct Christmas Poem’.

Singing for Pleasure group

Singing for Pleasure group

“This month there’s lots of times for taking
a contribution from your baking.”

 

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At Britomart we saw Santa taking an “elfie”:

Santa taking an elfie

Santa taking an elfie

And in Ponsonby we saw him emulating Marilyn Monroe:

Santa Marilyn

Santa Marilyn

“That Santa Claus does get about
his Rapid Reindeer help, no doubt.”

 

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Today is Tuesday

It can be hard to keep track of the days when you’re on holiday, especially when public holidays mean that some places are closed some days.

The beauty of holidays, for those of us without family responsibilities, is that we can do what we want, whenever we want (weather permitting).  I’ve enjoyed staying in bed late, reading novels, going to movies, eating tree-ripened apricots, and seeing friends.

What are you doing these holidays?

“I love to be on holiday
and live in a leisurely way.”

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