Holiday Cheer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas summer! Today is the longest day of the year and official start of summer here in New Zealand.

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It’s a little surreal for us that Seattle has a snow day while Leo and Hazel are sporting their togs and jandals, slathering on sunblock, and chanting “4 days to Christmas.” We’re going Kiwi-style! For the first time we will celebrate Christmas with just the 4 of us on the boat, and Sophie is ready.

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The lights are LEDs of course. Inside, we have a cute little tree. IMG_1383 (683x1024)
We only brought four ornaments with us, but ended up getting a few more to avoid looking like a Charlie Brown tree.
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The kids have had so much fun at Opua School and made lots of holiday projects. They are quite proud of their calendars.

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There is a Christmas Parade in Pahia and this year’s theme was fairy tales. Opua students could come as their favorite fairy tale character or their school uniform. Remember the one when Batgirl helps Cinderella find some lost forest friends? We do.

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Leo donned his school uniform instead.

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The Peter Pan float from Pahia Elementary was the most elaborate and won first prize.

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Opua School had a small storybook float and most of the kids walked in front.

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The little pig faces in the window were the cutest.
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No Christmas parade is complete without some Maori cheer.

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And of course Santa.

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Apparently the real Santa is already on his way here.  According to Hazel it takes 17 days for reindeer to fly to New Zealand from the North Pole so the sleigh is en route. Here is her letter to him:

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After the parade, the kids ate ice cream and went on the car ride. Leo kept hitting cones. After three warnings, he was banned from the ride. Best time ever.

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One of our favorite sights are the Pohutukawa, or New Zealand Christmas tree. They were plain green when we arrived, but in the last few weeks have burst into bloom.

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The path in Whangarei was red from so many petals on the ground.

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We’ve also done some holiday baking. Leo and Hazel’s friends Bailey and Boston joined us on Sophie for a pizza party, cookie decorating, movie night and sleepover. Holly, you missed out on Home Alone. The gingerbread cookies turned out way better than I expected, and were pretty easy to decorate.

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The kids did the ones around the outside, and I did the ones on the board.

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In addition, we decided to make a gingerbread house, our first one from scratch. Hey, we’re on a boat and not working so if we don’t do this now, when would we? I found a recipe online, designed a paper pattern, and made three batches of dough.

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Trimming the pieces a second time right after they came out of the oven worked great and made the house fit almost perfectly together. Royal icing took care of the rest. The kids decorated most of the house and garden and then our good friend Heidi helped with some of the finishing touches.

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Here’s the completed house:

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The gingerbread house didn’t last long. The kids brought it to school on their last day before summer vacation and it vanished within minutes.

Over the last couple days we’ve sailed from the Bay of Islands south to Auckland where we’ll spend the holidays. As I type, Jamie is playing Christmas music for the kids who are bouncing on the trampolines and getting soaked in the spray kicking up in 25 knots of wind right outside of Auckland.

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Here is Hazel, post trampoline:
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We’re excited to explore a new part of New Zealand and looking forward to having Christmas dins at our friend Misti’s house and then dressing up for the horse races on Boxing Day. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

5 thoughts on “Holiday Cheer

  1. Merry Christmas and happy sunny holidays down under! Keep up the great photography and story telling – we all love to share your adventures.

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