It’s been strange adjusting to a summertime festive season after two years of winter Christmases. I find myself missing the Christmas markets, the dazzling Christmas lights and the huge, sumptuously decorated Christmas trees in every public space.
In London in December, Christmas is everywhere. In Wellington, Christmas is less evident. There are some nods to the season with public decorations here and there, but the festive atmosphere is much more low-key. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.
To be fair, most Christmas traditions and tropes don’t really fit in with a summer Christmas. A Kiwi Christmas is generally a pretty laid-back affair of beaches, barbecues and backyard cricket. I’m enjoying the (brief glimmers of) sunshine and looking forward to a relaxing day on the 25th, but still wish we had the weather for novelty Christmas jumpers, mulled wine and ice skating.
One thing I do find cheering about Christmas in Wellington is the abundance of Pohutukawa trees (also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree) that bloom with glorious red flowers in December. My neighbourhood is full of them and while they aren’t in full bloom just yet, I see more and more red everyday.
It doesn’t look at all like the festive season I’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of years, but at least it’s looking a little like some kind of Christmas, and I guess that’s good enough.