Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kiwi christmas preparations

There are lots of great things about Christmas in New Zealand.  The weather is warm, Lonnie gets two weeks of mandated vacation, school is out for the summer, and flowers are in bloom.  New Zealand basically shuts down for Christmas, New Years, and even into mid-January.  Everyone goes on vacation and enjoys the school holiday and the warm weather.  We have some fun adventures planned for our Christmas break, and I am especially looking forward to having Lonnie with us all day long for a couple of weeks.  

Max and Maya are getting excited about Christmas for the first time...last year they were a little too young and Lonnie and I were a little too preoccupied with moving.  This year they are excited to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.  They have loved opening the doors to their baby Jesus advent calender that Nana sent from London until Max decided to tear off all the doors.  A couple of weeks ago I talked with the kids about Santa Claus and they, of course, love the idea.  Every time they see Santa decorations, they squeal.  I asked Maya if she wanted a doll house and Max if he wanted a train (which is what I had already decided I was going to get for them) from Santa, to which they both replied an emphatic "YES!".  They haven't forgotten.  Whenever anyone asks them what they want for Christmas Maya replies with a firm "doll house!" and Max says "a train". 

I really wanted to decorate for Christmas, in part to help me from feeling homesick.  I found a cheap artificial tree, and we made Christmas ornaments out of shells we have collected for the past year.  I think it turned out pretty cute.  
Growing up in Southern California prepared me for Christmas without snow, but being in the Southern Hemisphere has its Christmas challenges.  I've decided that the strangest thing about Christmas in New Zealand is that it doesn't get dark until almost 9pm.  Less darkness means less Christmas lights.  Caroling in the daylight seems a little strange to me.

Because it doesn't get dark until late, people don't put up a lot of Christmas lights, which is one of my favorite things about Christmas.  Last night, I was coming home from a late Playcentre meeting.  No one on our street of about 12 houses had lights up.  I probably passed only half a dozen houses with lights on the 5 min drive home.  Even those that do make the effort seemed to put up a lighted sign or a single strand of lights....there were certainly no Griswolds in our neighborhood.  Even if people did put up a lot of lights, I probably won't see them as I don't get out often after 9pm anyways.  We usually don't even turn on our Christmas tree lights until after the kids are in bed.

For those of you who have made it to this point in the post here are some photos of our sleeping angels.    
Yes, those are Max's bite marks on Maya's shoulder....they aren't always angels.  She is also sleeping on the floor.
Max fell down and cut his head at church a week ago last Sunday.  Thankfully, one of my friends had medical tape, which kept Max from needing stitches.

There is almost nothing I enjoy more than watching my kids sleep.  They look so peaceful that I almost, for a moment, forget the chaos of when they are awake. 


  1. Christmas lights go on here all over the neighborhood at 4:30...your post made me realize there is at least one advantage to having the sun go down so early in December.

    I love your tree!! And look forward to hearing about your adventures over the holidays.

  2. I love your tree! Your little angels are beautiful. I laughed out loud when I read your comment about the bite mark. Matt and Mike were terrible biters, but they only ever bit each other!!! I spent a lot of time worrying about that and what it could mean. They eventually grew out of it though just like our doctor said and it was all good in the end. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas. We'll be thinking of you.

  3. Seriously. Is there anything more beautiful than sleeping babies? Maybe babies sleeping in your arms in red fleece footie pajamas with reindeer faces on the feet lit by the glow of the Christmas tree. I've been enjoying THAT this year :)

    We can't wait to hear about all your NZ Christmas adventures! Sam is taking the next two weeks off. I'll email you to see if we can skype sometime when all the kids are awake.

  4. Thanks again for sharing your life with us and for sharing your wonderful talent as a writer.I can just imagine driving down the street in your car. Most people in London don't have any lights outside their houses. But the stores and streets are all decorated. It's still fun to see Christmas trees in windows. As always, I love my little kids. Nana

  5. Just wanted to let you know I posted 12 Days of Christmas on my blog with lots of activity pages for the kids. Be sure and go back to the day BEFORE Day One. Enjoy.

  6. I LOVE your Christmas tree! In Panama, our "white" Christmas was spent at the beach with lots of white sand. I always loved that :) I'm glad you are having fun. That's so cool about mandated vacation time, awesome!!!

  7. Alisa, your kids are BEAUTIFUL (if not completely angelic :> ). Your tree is lovely. I will not take for granted the wonderful lights on nearly every house on our street, ever again. :> Even though we see plenty (and have snow on the ground), my kids enjoy some of the youtube videos - have you shown those to the twins? Some favorites:

    We'll be in Bountiful in Jan. We will try to email the twins some photos of their cute cousins. :> Angela in Kansas

  8. PS: Have you gotten the kids the Little People nativity set? Best $20 I ever spent...we have played with it for YEARS. My 9-year-old still plays with it each year. One of my favorite Christmas photos shows all of them playing with it, with the oldest lowering Batman from the Batcopter, over the stable (even baby Jesus needs protection, apparently...) :>

  9. So cute, I really love children.

    Edina MN Realty

  10. First off, your kids are beautiful! Looking at your blog reminded me of the good days when my twins were still babies! The resemblance between our kids is uncanny! But unfortunately once they hit high school, they are much harder to deal with! I showed my daughter your kids, and she said "Mom, why do you have our pictures on the internet?" she was amazed at how much Maya looked like her! If you don't believe me, i have pictures on my blog of the kids when they were little.
    Best of wishes with "ginger" twins,