How many times have you said: ‘Next year, we are going to have Christmas on the beach!’ Probably remarking that it would be cheaper if nothing else.
But have you ever actually done it or is spending the 25th of December on an exotic beach somewhere with your family something that will remain on your bucket list of travel to do’s?
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You may be asking yourself if it could possibly be the same? Christmas down under.
Perhaps you are thinking of heading to Australia or New Zealand on holiday, or, it may be that like us, you are travelling long-term with your kids.
Or are you planning on taking the big leap this year and emigrating? Let me warn you; when we told people we were leaving the Uk to move to New Zealand a common reaction was:
“Oooh, that’ll mean having Christmas on the beach. That’s just weird.”
Different yes. Weird? You decide.
Christmas on The Beach Or in The Snow?
For those of you weighing up whether or not to spend Christmas in New Zealand, here are the main differences you can expect to encounter this festive time.
Remember, we have experienced both.
We lived in New Zealand for ten years and we have just spent Christmas day in Upstate New York where it bucketed down with snow. I think I even saw an elf and a reindeer.
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Christmas in New Zealand
- It’s hot, so…
- You can spend Christmas on the beach or get the water slide out in the garden. But…
- The tree wilts and all the decorations fall off the branches which is extremely annoying. This is because in New Zealand you cut your own tree down (an amazing experience) right in the middle of the new growth cycle. I suppose you could go artificial but then you miss out on nearly chopping your leg off with the blunt saw. One of the many things I was to learn about living in New Zealand.
- You eat outside. The best bit. I love eating outside. Who doesn’t?
- You drink less because you tend to go for long cool cocktails such as Iced tea rather than a big glass of milky Baileys. Honest.
- The fact that the fire is not lit makes it a lot easier to explain to little kids at bedtime, how Santa is going to get down the chimney without burning his bum. Unfortunately though…
- It’s hard to get the kids to bed any earlier than 10 o’clock because it’s still light outside. Meaning that you have to stay up bog eyed until the wee hours waiting for them to fall asleep.
- The food is really easy. We usually have something on the BBQ. Of course, we do. You can’t live down under and not throw something on the barbie at Christmas. Lots of people have ham and salads. We tend to have tiger prawns and maybe a steak. It just seems easier. Maybe it’s because it’s all outdoors and it’s not as intense as standing in the kitchen. Not to mention…
- It’s less expensive. Where we are, in Taranaki at least, the build-up to Christmas is more about the coming of the summer. This involves feeding the garden – putting rose food on your ever-blooming flowers, and deciding if the sheep need shearing. Then, about a week before Christmas, you panic and think, sh*t. I’d better go and buy some pressies. By which point the shops have very little left. Luckily though…
- It’s summer so you can purchase beach toys which come in huge boxes looking extremely impressive on the big day. But…
- By boxing day you are ready to get the tree down so that you can get to the beach and not look at the sun shining on your baubles any longer. Because…
- It’s hot.
Christmas In The Snow – America
- It’s cold. And if you are as lucky as we were this year in New York, it might snow. Which means…
- You can play fairytale in New York by the pogues on the radio- really loud, and do the female harmony. While…
- Drinking fancy spirits (because they are not a bloody rip off like they are in New Zealand.) Unfortunately, this results in you sounding nothing like the beautiful Kirsty MacColl – instead resembling the Irish drunk Shane MacGowan. No matter. It’s Christmas. Remember…
- You can light the fire, have a snooze, it feels so cosy. Careful though…
- The tree will wilt if you put it too close to the fire (which has to be lit all day cause it’s bloody freezing.)
- You eat loads. And loads. And loads. You can’t go out for a walk because it’s just too cold. But you can wear big baggy pyjamas so you don’t care. And even better…
- It gets dark early, so you start drinking at four-thirty. Meaning…
- The little kids can be put to bed at half-past three after being told that it is midnight and so they’d better get some shut-eye otherwise Father Christmas won’t come. Leaving you to just…
- Stay in and watch loads of telly without feeling as though you should be outside shearing the sheep or deadheading the roses.
- Come boxing day you do your best to pretend its still Christmas because you are desperate for the celebrations to continue. After all, once Christmas is over, it’s a long winter. Talking about which…
- There is no boxing day in America. What’s THAT all about?? Surely someone in the White House gave their servants boxes of Christmas gifts the day after Christmas? Come on America1 Your people need a day off after the 25th to let the turkey go down. But I’ll forgive you because…
- It’s cold and it’s just…more Christmassy.
Do you like wine? Do you long for adventure and love to change things up a little? They why don’t we become friends? Drop me your email and we will keep in touch. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you…I’m too busy looking for my bag.
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So Which is Best? Christmas in the Snow or on the Beach?
Having Christmas on the road was wonderful for us – and a good deal cheaper! Because we were on such a tight budget we had to get incredibly inventive with our gift ideas.
The best present that I received was this gorgeous travel candle. It lasted me the entire year (I would only light it when I needed to feel a little luxury!) I think it was about $20 and honestly, it was one of the best things I’ve ever received.
They both have their pros and cons, and I still can’t decide. So I did what I always do when I can’t make up my mind about something. I ask the kids.
What’s the main difference between a cold Christmas and Christmas on the beach I asked?
“Having a cold Christmas means that everyone comes together a lot more”.
And it’s true. They’re right.
Don’t tell them I said that though.
When it’s hot, we are always outside. Someone at the BBQ, another down in the garden. Two on the trampoline. But. When it’s freezing outside you all tend to congregate in one place and either chat or watch something on tv. Either way, you’re always together.
Note to oneself. Must learn to be more sociable with the kids when back home in New Zeland.
Whatever your preference, if you’re thinking of spending the holidays in warmer climes and are worried that Christmas on the beach might not right, remember, it’s not all about where you are – it’s who you’re with. Whatever you choose to do this year, make it special. Happy New Year!