Merry Christmas, or Should We Say, "Meri Kirihimete"

Somehow, Santa found us all–even though we were thousands of miles from home (8,678.1 miles as the crow flies to be exact).  The time shift meant that our NZ Christmas was the day before our friends and family were celebrating back home, leading to some Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter cognitive dissonance.
Despite the change in scenery, Christmas morning in Rotorua was about the same as everywhere: too many gifts, lots of bed-head, early morning faces, and energetic children.  Some scenes from our NZ holiday:

Beach towels … because it is summer!

Christmas hats, sweaters, and t-shirts in full effect.

Many Trey and Cody gifts (bc we had an early Christmas in ROC already!)

Curtains still closed from our star gazing on Christmas Eve 🙂

So many Davii

Make-up from NZ?  Yes, please.

A stocking filled with NZ candy and trinkets?  Yes, please.

A murderous shark beach toy?  Yes, please.

Someone always goes one bow too far 🙂

And, in the end, at this house, nothing beats the tramp.  Here decked out in green and red.

After a late Christmas breakfast, the day was warm enough that we took a walk to Lake Tarawera–which is very cold but also crystal clear.  The short trip down the road led us past gorgeous flowering bushes.  Some foreign …

Some very familiar–the hydrangeas here are huge and multi-colored: blue, white, green, and an amazing deep purple.  Just beyond those, you can see the lake.

The water was quite cold, which did not stop the three boys from hurling themselves in.  And, buoyed by the shark (named, for some reason I probably don’t want to know, Jimbo), they got pretty far out.  That’s Mount Tarawera in the background and some of NZ’s skyfilling white clouds above.


Others took more parental “coaxing” to get in the water.

And, some found the beach side just fine.

Aside from a water skier who was occasionally visible way out in the distance–and whose waves brought chilly screams from our crew, we had the lake to ourselves.


Back at the house, we warmed up with coffee …

and settled in for the Davis-family card game: Shanghai.  For the record, Jen won, and Harper proudly carried her longest losing streak banner another game forward.

We had what was described as a traditional Kiwi barbeque for dinner: steak, lamb, bacon-wrapped chicken, potatoes with chorizo, grilled veggies, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and kumara salad.  Kumara is a NZ sweet potato, and those among us (Ned, Penn) who like sweet potatoes liked it.  Those among us (Harper, me) who don’t, didn’t.  The table overflowed with delicious food, and we ate well beyond our stomachs.  Thankfully, we only had three desserts: Jen’s Pavlova (the official NZ dessert) and a homemade ice cream bombe. 

As a side note, we learned that New Zealanders are inordinately proud of the Pavlova and very protective of its origins.  Maybe because NZ is a fairly small country, they feel very strongly about the credit they should get for everything from breeding winning race horses to inventing pump bottles to ….  And, frequently, they point to the Australians as falsely laying claim to NZ discoveries and achievements.  What’s especially interesting is that so much of NZ culture is basically British culture wrapped in different scenery (same could be said of Australia.)  Ah, nationalism.

After dinner, we enjoyed some Christmas Crackers (see above!) and another Lake Tarawera sunset.

A summer Christmas comes to a close with memories that will far outlast this vacation and this season.  Meri Kirihimete!

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