Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008Thanks to everyone who’s dropped in to wish me and mine a Merry Christmas! We had a great christmas with B&E and Crumpet toast for breakyat my sisters , followed by a mouth-watering roast lunch eaten in under trees at our close friend(s)  house. The sun shone as you can see!! It did rain on Christmas eve and Christmas morning was chilly (for summer, we’re not talking WHITE Christmas here! lol) but when it passed we basked in glorious sun!

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Christmas day was followed by a lazy boxing day and then my son’s 9th birthday! On the 28th we decided we should really get out and about instead of lazing around home (tempting as that was!) so we went to the beach at low tide to walk on the ‘mud’ flats and look in the pools of water left behind by the outgoing sea. It was mostly sea lettuce and small crabs but we all came home happy and sandy so that was an afternoon well spent! 

(This is the same stretch of sand that I photographed the Pohutakawa’s on, although it looks much different now.)

Thanks again for all the christmas joy that was spread by you all over here to me in NZ. I hope your christmas was awesome too!

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Our advent calendar is full, the baking is done and the Pavlova’s cooling in the oven as I type. I can almost hear those sleigh bells and the jolly HO! HO! HO! of  Saint Nic as his arrival in NZ fast approaches….I kid you not when I say that my children are now counting in ‘hours’ till Christmas instead of days or sleeps! That is  half the joy though isn’t it? Sleepless anticipation of the following morning when you finally get to see what is in the mysterious parcels under the tree, hopeful expectations that Santa thinks you’ve been good enough and the delicious thoughts of all the yummy food that will be scoffed the next day. MMmmmm! 

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

This is our home-made ‘Advent’ calendar. Each day the kids took a little envelope out of the ‘Christmas’ tin and in it was a card (made by them) and a note from me. The note gave them an activity to do that day that reflected the real spirit of Christmas for example ” do something kind for your sister”  or if they were lucky they pulled out one that said that they could help make a pudding or some other treat. Simple as it is the kids looked forward to their turn on the calendar!  Now that it is so close I admit that even I am getting a little excited. I can’t wait to see the JOY on their faces when they see what they’ve been given and I’m looking forward to sitting down with family to enjoy a great meal (well..two actually!) and I am truly greatful that no grinches have stolen Christmas! I feel truly blessed and hope that where ever it is you and yours are that your Christmas will be wonderful!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!, BUON NUTALE!, MERRI KIRIHIMETE!!

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

This friendly Santa waits outside his house for the kids who’ve come to enjoy the lights. We were here a few years back when he stepped out his front door and boy were the kids surprised! It really made there night and I think Santa enjoys himself too. 

There’s been a noticeable drop in the amount of houses all decked out for the lights trail this year. Either people are saving money by not displaying thousands of twinkling lights or they’re not investing in new lights.  In previous years the kids were almost guaranteed to come home with a good stash of lollies too. Not now. Another noticeable effect of the credit crunch is the lack of cars driving around the streets looking at lights. Often I’ve been in a trail of cars or have had to park and walk. Even the CBD didn’t put up there huge light displays this year…lots of people have complained about that but from a business point of view they are just an expenditure and collectively they decided that less is well…just less this year. Inadvertently though the environment does stand to benefit from the reduced energy use and carbon emissions….that has to be a silver lining in of sorts in these harder times. Hopefully the harder times will also result in people realising that it’s not the lights, the sweet treats or even the presents that make Christmas, Christmas. It’s the people we love, our family and friends that make it special. Awwwwww…..

Buon Nutale!  Miri Kirihimete! Merry Christmas!

PS: Don’t pull the beard, Santa himself assured me this one is real:)

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

We did the christmas lights tour tonight. The kids loved it and I decided it was way more important to see there smiles than try and perfect tripod-less shots! Maybe I should just ask SANTA for a tripod…..

I do quite like the top photo. It was early in the evening and the vet clinic in Welcome Bay (still in Tauranga) was just starting to really shimmer.

The middle photo is also taken in Welcome Bay. It reminds me a bit of a Gingerbread house!

The last photo is a church in Ohauiti (between Oropi, where I live and Welcome Bay) the writing is a bit blurry but it says ” Jesus is the reason for the season.” I love the celestial like light that convienently streams down from the street light!

Not many sleeps now…..

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

My 2 youngest wait for the parade to start. Rumour has it Santa’s on his way!

 Cute Kids Bag pipes and the Scottish Marching Band

I love the excitement of the bag pipes. They are traditional at our parades and signal the start of something good!

Belly Dancers!

Pacific Island Cultural Group

Horses and Gypsy Carriage

Look at those blus skies! Lucky weren’t we? My eldest was very pleased to see the horses.

Maori Cultural Group. Te Rereatukahia Marae.

Alvin and the Chipmunks  

Santa has a wind-up mini! It's true!

The chipmunks had a sign saying “Please don’t cut down our home!” I guess they are pro-synthetic trees!

Mrs Claus and Santa

Mrs Claus drives a tractor over these ways! The elves socks are very cool. I’d wear them! lol

Angels and Polar BearsSnoopy's Christmas 

The classic flyers museum put in a float too and played Snoopy’s Christmas. Very apt!

Santa and the Reindeer

The jolly fat man himself! There were so many people wearing Santa hats on the floats I almost missed the “real” Santa. 

Kati Kati is about 25 minutes from Tauranga when the traffic is good.  Tauranga (would you believe) isn’t having a parade. The KK parade was also under threat and an article was put in the paper saying that if it wasn’t supported then this would be the last one. Thankfully it was well supported! In these credit crunching times it was a really nice experience to see the community groups pull together the business’s to put on a parade and it was equally lovely to see so many excited kids out enjoying it! Sure makes ya feel all festive dosn’t it?

 

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

It’s not hard to see why I love Pohutakawa Flowers so much!  These huge native trees are very common in coastal NZ and as they flower during the summer months they are often called “NZ’s Christmas Tree.”  It’s not just people who love Pohutakawa’s, the bees love them as the top photo shows and so do many species of birds and even Monarch Butterflies. It’s hard to imagine a  NZ without these trees and thanks to a law protecting them it’s not likely we’ll have too- anyone caugtht damaging theses trees, even pruning them without permission is in big trouble!

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

This fountain is hard to miss and a magnet for kids who prefer fresh water to salt! It was the Pohutakawa flowers that drew me there today though, not the fountain! I took 103 photos today so as soon as I have sorted through them  I’ll be posting a selection here. They’re a truly spectacular tree and flower, native to NZ and it’s a great thrill to see them at this time of year bursting with life and summery-ness!

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008

Copyright Lisa Sarsfield 2008