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.