Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas House Tour 2013

Merry Christmas!

For the majority of Jen's readers, Christmas is synonymous with winter, snow, cold and things like hot chocolate, sledding and snowmen. For those of us in the southern hemisphere, it's all about sun, sand, surf... and well, summer.

Until I was 20, I'd had as many white Christmases, as I had had summer ones. Neither was strange to me, but I always felt a little bit more Christmas spirit when it snowed.
Unfortunately, that's not an option in New Zealand, so I guess I'll just have to put up with the sunshine, and 84F weather... (I'll take or leave the 90% humidity that's hitting us at the moment!!)
(Anyone jealous yet?)

In NZ, Christmas means BBQ's at the beach, seafood dinners and a day of family time out in the sun - maybe a game of cricket, or rugby....
In my family, we do things a little differently - a but more traditional - but then I'm a first generation Kiwi - both my parents were born in England, and one of them was brought up there too.

So we do our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve - usually a roast Chicken with all the trimmings, and a more Kiwi spin on dessert - Pavolva. Then on Christmas Day we cook the ham, and lounge around.

Christmas started early for me this year, way back in late October when we started preparing for the local Santa Parade. The school I work at took part, as we do every year, and we worked hard this year to complete a float made out of recycled materials.

This glorious tree was the centre piece:

A week or so before school ended for the year (remember, our summer vacation happens now, over Christmas!)I started baking....

Reindeer for the children I teach

Trees and stars for some of the teachers at work...

And little goody bags of cookies for the teachers in the same team as me at work.

I love Christmas time in NZ - and as a teacher, I'm especially spoiled. Fancy morning teas (you know summer in approaching when someone brings out the chocolate covered strawberries!!), gorgeous gifts from children...

I received these lovely cupcakes from a child in my class - her mum owns a fantastic cupcake shop!
Clockwise from top left: Turkish Delight (it was gorgeous - I think there was rose water in the icing!), Lemon and Passionfruit (my favourite); Chocolate; Vanilla.
Aren't they stunning?

I'll finish off with a selection of photos of the Christmas decorations at my house - kind of what this whole tour is about! However, I hope in the first part, I've given you all a taste of what Christmas is like for me in New Zealand!

 (Please ignore the state of my garden!! It's in the process of being re-done.. and during the almost tropical downpours we've been having lately, the weeds have gone into overtime growing!!)

 A gingerbread house that I helped a friend make - certainly not beautiful, but a LOT of fun!!)

And we'll finish up with the tree at my parents house - a lovely real one too!!

I wish you all a joyful and safe Christmas season, with love, laughter, friends and family.

- C


  1. I love the different expressions on the reindeer cookie faces! Thanks for showing us Christmas in a warmer climate. Merry Christmas!

    1. Haha - yeah, turnasout icing reindeer after reindeer gets a bit boring....
      There's a Harry Potter reindeer. .. a MadEye Moody, Captain Jack Sparrow, Cyclops, 3 eyed alien... a Van Gogh miasing an ear. .. among others!

  2. Beautiful--the tree, the cookies, the wreaths--all of it.

  3. I could get used to Christmas being warm, beachy and full of seafood! I love all your cute cookies and your gingerbread house. That's a lot of work!

  4. Christmas over summer vacation (I'm a teacher as well) sounds so peaceful :-) What a fabulous job on those cookies!

    1. It's great in many ways having Christmas in our summer vacation, but it also eats into the relaxation time... all the prep, cooking, shopping etc.

  5. Oh my goodness, your cookies are glorious!

  6. I wish I were there to eat those cookies, but I'll definitely pass on the warm weather. :-)

  7. Love the cookies and the reindeer on the patio!

  8. You are quite the baker yourself (and yes, the cupcakes look/sound amazing), although I'm not sure I'd want a ham dinner in the middle of summer. My family spent one Christmas in Florida and it was marvelous to sit on a warm patio in the afternoon, and I could definitely get used to seafood suppers at Christmas!
    It was really interesting to see Christmas happening in the middle of summer. Still, I think for most years I will keep my cold, snowy yard.

    1. Karen - we have our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, so it's not too bad!
      I think I probably like a white Christmas as much as a aummer one... but I suppose it's really what you're used to!

  9. I absolutely love the fact that you shared your baking! I love to bake too. And those reindeer - yikes - they are too cute to eat. I'd have to punch holes in their heads ;D and hang them from the tree.

    1. Kim - I found that the icing didn't stick well enough for them to actually be hung... Iit seemed to seperate itself from the cookies after a day or so.... I have however seen some lovely Christmas bunting made from gingerbread men and ribbon.