Christmas in New Zealand is less about sleigh bells and snow men and more about sunshine, beaches and BBQs. Christmas falls right amongst our hottest months and it’s not uncommon to see Santa sporting shorts and flip-flops. Christmas in New Zealand is about being outdoors, eating and drinking too much, relaxing in the sun and having fun with loved ones.
Families enjoy sitting down to a spread of Christmas dinner delights with some choosing the traditional Christmas roast and steamed pudding or Christmas cake, and others opting for a lighter barbecue and salads. No Christmas would be complete in New Zealand without a pavlova (meringue dessert) topped with strawberries and kiwifruit.
Another popular tradition is going to see the Santa parade! The annual event (Held late Nov.) is a celebration of Christmas and New Zealand culture. Featuring floats, popular show characters, marching bands, clowns, dancing, lots of music and of course Santa himself.
The first Christmas celebrated in New Zealand was in 1642 with Abel Tasman and his crew near the D'Urville Islands. While sheltered from a storm they enjoyed fresh pork and “extra rations of wine”.