Written on 12/25/13
Kiwis typically have Christmas breakfast and lunch; dinner consists of leftovers. I was woken up around 7:30 (granted, this was my sleeping in, since mostly all of us are used to getting up at 7 for work or school) for breakfast with everyone… Cereal is a luxury item for the family (and understandably so… A small box is generally $8 and up here), so we had cereals, porridge, strawberries and peaches laid out on the table. I tried the Honey Puffs and Cocoa Puffs– definitely made with about 50% less sugar than American cereals. I’m highly aware of how unhealthy Americans eat, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss the food!
I hope I don’t sound like a fatty when I blog. 😉
Their whipped cream is a lot different than ours as well- it looks like fluffy butter in a bowl. I found it interesting that they put whipped cream along with creamer in their cereals… I opted out of that one.
After breakfast, everyone gathered around the Christmas tree in a circle and their mom proceeded to read out presents for each person.
Sidenote: The mom and dad are probably the most cheerful, bubbly people I’ve ever met… So vivacious and full of good humor and fun.
Santa brought gifts for me as well (good heavens, so much)… I was gifted a beautiful plumeria hair clip, Maori-like bangle, lipgloss, Kiwi kitchen cloths for my flat, the Boy DVD, and a speech bubble corkboard. It was lovely seeing how each of them received gifts from each other as well. They’re an incredibly close, loving family… The interesting thing is that family comes first for Kiwis (usually). So different from what I’m used to (jetting off to spend time with friends and never being home). In fact, it seems like the siblings are each other’s best friends, which is an amazing thing. They were a bit shocked by how I grew up as an only child…hence why I had imaginary friends.
Their creativity in their gift giving also shone through: Annie labeled each chocolate in a glass jar titled “The Champion Jar” for her dad; David received packs of lint rollers (apparently he needs them when he moves to Christchurch), etc. I came away from this feeling like such an inadequate daughter… Here is this close family, buying gifts and making things for 7 different people, and I just text my parents, “Merry Christmas.” With Michael Buble holiday music in the background, it felt so nice to spend my first (and perhaps only) Kiwi Christmas with the most loving family ever.
We watched “The Twelve Trees of Christmas” afterward; the only good part of it was that it was set in NY, where I hope to spend next Christmas. The rest of it was just plain cheesy. Everyone helped in preparing Christmas lunch, which consisted of an array of things: oven-roasted sliced potatoes and pumpkins; stuffing; chicken (about 1/4 of the size of an American chicken); Christmas tarts; eclairs (filled with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce); chips and dip; ham; peas; Pavlova (a very light Kiwi dessert that tasted like coconut and a light meringue); sparkling grape juice. What a treat! Their aunt and uncle visited for lunch, but Annie said it was the first Christmas where their younger cousins weren’t running around the house (made for lots of quiet time).
We got the best of both worlds: it rained lightly in the morning (not freezing like Wellington though) and it cleared up in the afternoon with beautiful blue skies. Their dad bought their mom a lovely 3-seater swing which they set up on the patio (even Fatty McBoomBoom hopped on it). When it was sunny, the other girls sat in the swing and hammock as I sat in the trampoline… They have such a serene, peaceful neighborhood.
We watched a few episodes of “Community” (which Jono gifted Annie) before I explored their area on my own. It was about 45 min to walk from their house to the end of the road, which is next to a lake. It was a beautiful walk, though.. Definitely better to see the stunning hills, forests, and greenery in person rather than through a window. So many cattle (and a few horses)… Each home was pretty separated in distance, probably due to the vast amounts of farmland property. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the area is, though. This is how I envisioned NZ. Made me a little sad that I’m missing out on this scenery most of my year here since I’m in Wellington. All I heard on my walk was the sound of birds chirping and cicada bugs. Every corner I turned looked like Hobbiton. I couldn’t run through the fields since the fences obviously bordered the private property, but damn…. this is amazing.
Definitely a quiet, chill, and blessed Kiwi Christmas.