Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from New Zealand

a NZ Christmas tree "Pohutukawa" near Piha Beach 20 mins from  my house

In 2009 I pondered how it is weird to experience warm weather at Christmas.  After 4 years of living in NZ, it is still weird.  Christmas is a Christian holiday combined with the pagan winter festival plus Santa and Reindeer...  Santa wears a wool suit.  He lives at the North Pole.  His sleigh is made for snow.  Lights decorate houses in winter where its dark at 5pm.

In 2010 I shared a few negative experiences I've had this time of year. 

For 2011?  Well, the only 'bad' is I haven't managed to send anything to family except flowers to arrive at my mother's in Glenview, Illinois USA.  We managed to get our NZ presents (aka known as "pressies") for all family members here so we'll wrap all those today - and head to mum's for lunch tomorrow Christmas day. 

Growing up in Wilmette in a Catholic family, we used to go to church every Sunday.  On Christmas sometimes we'd attend midnight mass Saturday night.  Last time I went to midnight mass was before I was married probably 1998 or 1999, I was living in an apartment and was supposed to meet a sister and my mother there.  Neither showed up.  They were tired.  My NZ family aren't church goers, yet they are very spiritual and reverent people in their lives, in loving and caring towards each other and other people they know.  Their kindness and love help me live my life here away from my Illinois roots.

Do you need to go to church to be spiritual?  No. 

This year I am happy to be able to share a Christmas holiday with NZ loved ones.  Some of us will be bringing our pets to mum's (dogs!).  There are 3 puppies and 2 adult dogs so 5 wee doggies will be added to the fun at mum's with around 20 adults and one 3 year old. 

Tomorrow should shape up to be a wonderful day of food, family, puppies, pressies and the warm summer NZ sunshine...

I hope you all get to share some food, prayer, joy and happiness wherever you are this year - Merry Christmas everyone!

Lisa G in NZ