In New Zealand, like its neighbor Australia, Christmas comes in the middle of the summer holidays. So, as well as present-buying and parties, families are preparing for trips to the beach.
Christmas festivities begin in late November, when schools and church groups present Nativity plays. They sing carols throughout the month of December. Families decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves, and evergreens, along with the colorful flowers that bloom in summer called Christmas bush and Christmas bellflower. Some families put up a Christmas tree.
On Christmas Eve, people attend Christmas mass and on Christmas Day all families and close friends gather together from all over Australia and New Zealand for a Christmas midday dinner. As it is usually quite warm on Christmas Day, New Zealanders and Australians can eat their Christmas dinner outside. People usually have a picnic or a barbecue on the beach. Most families enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set aflame before it is brought to the table. The person who gets the favor baked inside will enjoy good luck all year round. In New Zealand some people have a traditional Maori hangi: they dig a hole in the ground and heat it with hot stones. Then they put meat and vegetables into this hole, cover the hole and let the food cook inside. The hangi is served in the afternoon or evening; after the delicious meal, people often sit around and sing Christmas carols.
Some New Zealanders can’t get enough of Christmas–they celebrate it twice each year: on 25 December and in July, which is mid-winter in the country. So if you go to New Zealand in July, you may find hotels and restaurants fully decorated for Christmas.
The Christmas gift giving is a popular aspect of winter holiday season in Australia and New Zealand. Christmas gifts are usually wrapped in red, green or festive wrapping paper and placed under a Christmas tree, to be opened on Christmas morning. For children, a Christmas stocking is an early-morning treat; filled with small gifts from Father Christmas, the stocking is traditionally hung at the end of the child’s bed or from the mantelpiece above the fireplace.
Personal Christmas gifts to Australia or New Zealand may include any items according to the recipient’s taste. But when choosing a business Christmas gift basket, it’s important to avoid highly personal and expensive items that may be perceived as bribes. Gourmet baskets filled with items unique to your home region is a great choice as well as high-quality Wine/Champagne baskets and snack or fruit baskets suitable for big companies. Imported Chocolate baskets and romantic gift boxes with plush toys and flowers are perfect for women and children and as a romantic gift.
Approach the selection of the Christmas gifts for your dear ones and business associates with all the responsibility and don’t forget that your thoughtful choice is considered more important than the actual content of the gift!