Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Homes Tour

So, I've observed Jen's (Jen on the Edge) Holiday Homes Tour the last year or so, and this year I decided to take part.
We don't really go all out at Christmas - mostly because we leave to go down to our family beach place on the Coromandel (the holiday haven of most North Islanders in NZ) on Boxing Day. (Something I've never been sure about.... I know that Boxing Day is a holiday in Canada, like in the UK, Australia and NZ... but is it one in the US?)

My parents arrive from France today, so the past few days (after schools let out for summer break on Wednesday.... best part about being a teacher!!) have been all about cleaning and tidying and sprucing.

So, let's get this thing started:

Welcome! This is my new Christmas wreath. The old one was looking a little... weathered. I'd love to have a go at making one someday, but at this point, work is just too busy leading up to this time of the year.Plus, bonus - this one only cost me $20 on sale.

This is the old wreath. I hung it in our dining room on the double windows. It doesn't look too bad there... (And out the window you can glimpse the greeness of NZ at Christmas..... though that might not last for long. It's been so hot here so far this summer (hot enough that it's March weather, not December) that most of the country has already been declared to be in a drought.)

As you come in from the front door and into the entry way, you'll see the nativity scene on the china cabinet, bells hanging from a painting, the (fake) mistletoe hanging above the door to the living room, and a glimpse of the (real) tree....

Close up of the nativity scene. Most of these pieces were bought at Trade Aid.

To the right of the living room door, the stairs head down to the bedrooms - it's an upside down house on a hill. The street entrance is on the upper level, so all the living areas are up there... and the bedrooms are downstairs. While trying not to put an pins in the walls, I came up with the idea of stringing the cards along the stair railings. I've actually added another upper level of cards.... the benefits of being a teacher. LOTS of cards. (And presents!!!)

In the kitchen I've put a poinsettia in a red bucket with a snowman... to remind myself that event hough it's not cold here, it is in other places.

Kitchen table, with red/Christmassy tablecloth and my Christmas basket - pinecones etc.... each year I sprinkle more cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, star anise and ginger on the basket. Always smells good :)

The tree. Bit of a disapointment this year. I didn't pick a good one....  Oh well!! No theme. There's never a theme... it's more of a 'put all the decorations you have on it', theme....

Voltives on top of the (very old) TV. I do believe I was watching The Biggest Loser Australia at the time.

Tree with lights in it :) Trying to make things festive.

Technically this is actually a photo I took for this blog (cooking) but you can see some of the lights strung up along the railing..... But really, this is a good picture, because it shows what a Kiwi Christmas is all about. Summer, BBQ's.... etc.

Ahhhh, here we go. Night time, lights on shot of the tree. Pretty!!! It was looking a little more alive in those days.

Advent Wreath. I've tried to stay traditional - I have a lovely one at school (I teach in a Catholic School) but yes... the only thing really missing is the evergreen part... but all good. We're up to three candles lit now. The last purple one will be lit tomorrow night (Sunday here in NZ) and then the Christ candle on Christmas day.

Anyway, I hope you've all enjoyed getting a glimpse of my Kiwi Christmas. I wish I had more summery pictures to put up.. but it's been raining for a few days (so much for that drought!! - though, probably not enough rain to do much) and it's been humid... 100% humidity some days. So no gorgeous sunny days to photograph.

Merry Christmas!!!!! 


  1. I really like the way you have little things scattered here and there throughout the house. The way you hung the cards is inspired!

    No, Boxing Day is not celebrated in the U.S., although the Anglophiles in my house tend to remember it.

  2. Love the string of nice!

  3. I'm getting so many great ideas--I have a large tree similar to yours in the living room--tomorrow I put lights on it!

  4. I think your tree is beautiful! What species is it? And I love the cards hanging from the railing. I have a friend who makes beautiful ball ornaments from old Christmas cards...she'd be so jealous of your supply!

  5. Chiming in here to say I also love the cards strung along the stair railing.