Well it is that time of year again. In New Zealand New Zealanders are sweaty with heat and frustration. Old rust and stuck on goo is being scraped off barbecues. Gas bottles are being shaken and sniffed at, checked and refilled. "Ezy to assemble" tents are being forced to assume what are hoped to be tent like shapes as some tug on ropes and others bend high tech carbon fiber poles whilst instructions are being yelled.
Socks are being purchased at the last moment and wrapped for difficult to buy for uncles. Plastic weapons of mass destruction are chosen for the ten year olds. Ipods, monopods, stereopods, telepods, and pods of all kinds are parceled up for the teenagers with text tuned thumbs.
Late, "I almost forgot..." cards are being written and posted in the hope that they may get there in time for Christmas, either this one (unlikely), or the next one (also unlikely), or maybe New Year....
Supermarket car parks are full of shoppers desperate to fill up metal trundlers with items that will in due course fill friends and relatives with more food. There are diabetic Christmas puddings, heart foundation puddings, bowel cancer puddings, celiac disease puddings, puddings for vegetarians, vegans, believers, and unbelievers. There are Christmas hams made from pigs, hams made from sheep, and hams that could contain chicken, fish, and traces of peanuts.
There are Santas around every corner, Santas on parade, Santas in schools, hospitals, doctor's surgeries. Santas down chimneys, Santas down flues, Santas through heat pumps! They get in anyhow, and leave things in socks. Socks in socks for the difficult to buy for Uncle!
And it is occasionally hot here, we have just had the longest day. We may yet have a few days when the wind settles enough for us to declare that summer has arrived. We will perspire over Christmas dinner.
There is mystery at Christmas. There is a passing of childhood, and a celebration of childhood. There is companionship, and there is parting. There is giving, and there is selfishness.
Some will sing New Zealand Carols that have no snow, holly, mistletoe, or ivy, and will offer words that reverberate proudly with flax, cabbage trees, pohutakawa, and sunshine.
Others will long for the Christmas trees of childhood, twinkling lights, angels, and snowy flakes falling softly, to celebrate the child in a stable long, long ago.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Peter, Laura, and Ginger the cat!
(pohutakawa: Metrosideros excelsa, a coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family, treasured for its beautiful display of red flowers that are at their peak mid to late December. Known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree)
Here is a link to some New Zealand Carols which you might like to have a look at.