I am a New Zealander who has weathered the last 5 Christmases in northern climes. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s very very beautiful and festive and wonderful and I have had a glorious time with excellent people.

But for me, it’s not how Christmas ought to be. My Christmas comes with BBQs and water-skiing and no hot food at all. So ahead of my first warm Christmas in quite some time, here is a guide to what Yuletide celebrations look like on the flipside of the world. HOT TIP: You’re gonna need jandals. Look them up.

1. It will probably rain

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide 5

Didn’t see this coming, did you? Soz. Summer in New Zealand isn’t doing its hot delicious thang until well into Feb, so chances are that late December will be blessed with warm temps and heavy skies. But it won’t rain the whole day. And it won’t be cold.

2. No turkey

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide

Look, some NZ families allow the big bird onto their table, but it’s frankly ridiculous when it’s 25 degrees and you’re planning to go swimming in the evening. Get some lamb on the BBQ and not only will you be tucking in in 40 minutes rather than 5 hours, but it’s nicer. When will the world realise that turkey is just big, crap, dry, miserable chicken? COME ON.

3. There will be still be fake snow everywhere

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide 6

Ah yes. It might be Summer, but our Christmas decorations are still fully dictated by colonialist mores, so there is snow on the windowsills and holly in the door ways and tinsel and sweaty sweaty Santa hats. 

4. Christmas carols make no bloody sense

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide 7

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is just tad incongruous when you’re sunbathing but that will not stop us. It won’t. Never. Which brings us to…

5. Snoopy’s Christmas

Learn the lyrics. Do it now. Otherwise they won’t let you in the country.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToEolESPGQg]

6. You’re going to go to the beach

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide 4

You should probably just accept that now. It might be a walk rather than a swim, but this is how you deal to the Christmas bloat from all that sweet delicious lamb you just ate. And it’s just as good as tottering down to Tesco for a cider top-up. Trust.

7. Everyone leaves the city after Christmas

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere- A guide 2

OK, some of this is informed by me being a kid and having lengthy wonderful holidays to embrace after the big day. But even functional working adults will use that gap between Christmas and New Year to head north or south to a small serviceable holiday home (called a bach, vocab lesson) where they drink beer, lie in the sun, play cricket and swim. And that is a tradition that everyone should adopt.

Because heading back to work in the New Year is much less horrendous when you’re doing it with a tan and the knowledge that you can go to the beach after work. 

Bottom line? It’s SUMMER.

That means shorts, cold drinks, sunglasses and tans. It means long evenings and bright mornings and sand and surf. And it might seem wrong but try to imagine it: the most festive, calm, happy time of the year – coupled with sunshine. I gotta tell you, it does not suck.

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