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Our First Kiwi Christmas

Christmas Pajamas and Hats from Hanna Anndersson (very merry in hanna red)

As we head into the end of December, we are prepping for our first expat Christmas here in New Zealand! After searching and finally finding a home (I will be sharing some "before" sneak peeks of our space next week), spending the past two weeks attempting to settle in and furnish this house of ours, and preparing for the arrival of our baby in less than a month, Christmas has honestly been the last thing on my mind. That is until I realized that Christmas was basically a week away and we still had yet to buy a tree, put up lights, or buy a single present! After completely missing Halloween, Holden's favorite holiday, because of traveling at the time, I knew that we couldn't do the same for Christmas (nor would I want to!). I've found a Kiwi Christmas to be quite different from Christmas as we know it from the States and thought I'd share a few differences between an American Christmas and a New Zealand Christmas...

  1. Just the fact that it's the middle of summer here in New Zealand means it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Although we lived in Southern California where it's a steady 75 degrees (24 degree celsius) year-round and we don't experience a cold, snowy Christmas, there is something in the air that makes it feel like the winter season. So it feels quite odd to be heading into summer and the Christmas season at the same time. Christmas in New Zealand means bbq-ing at the beach or spending the day in the backyard with friends and family, not the "typical" American Christmas day.
  2. Christmas is truly everywhere in the States from the end of October (I remember seeing Christmas decor in the shops before Halloween last year) leading right up until Christmas. People have Christmas lights on their homes, Christmas trees in the windows, Christmas music playing on all of the radio stations, and you are inundated with Christmas decor in almost every, single shop that you step into. It is now a week away from Christmas and I have only seen one house in our neighborhood that has lights on it, I have only spotted a house or two with a Christmas tree in the window, I have yet to find a radio station that plays Christmas music, and I could only find one aisle of Christmas decor in our local shop and it was completely sold out. It seems there isn't the same sort of consumerism around Christmas that we as Americans experience during the holiday seasons and it's honestly been quite refreshing.
  3. With our move, we were incredibly late to the game in getting our Christmas tree so imagine our surprise when we went to the Christmas tree lot to cut down our tree and found an entire field of trees that had been pre-sold in October and were still waiting for their owners to come and claim them with only a week and a half left before Christmas. When I questioned the owner of the tree farm, he didn't seem phased in the least and just replied that it wasn't that late.
  4. Driving around to see Christmas lights is harder to do here as it's light until 9 PM at night. The boys are generally in bed before it is dark (remember, summertime!) so taking them to see the lights in the city has proven to be an adventure that we haven't undertaken yet.

I honestly wasn't expecting the holiday season to feel different than what we are used to, but with the laidback, less is more approach that New Zealanders seem to take towards Christmas, I find that I am focusing less on the whole consumer aspect of Christmas and more on what this holiday season is truly about.

***Thank you Hanna Andersson for partnering on this post. 

Tiny Travels: La Jolla Itinerary

LaJollaChrissy_Isobel-PalomaLisaPhotography-137 TINY TRAVELS : LA JOLLA

La Jolla is beach town on the Pacific Ocean. It is a hilly seaside community occupying 7 miles of curving coastline. I love finding spots that you can park the car, pack up what you need in the stroller, and set out for a day of adventuring, and La Jolla is perfect for that. Not only is the town of La Jolla brimming with shops and restaurants, but Coast Boulevard offers so many different activities from building sand castles and swimming to flying kites and observing animals.

LA JOLLA ITINERARY 

  • Juice Crafters
  • Tide Pools
  • Cuvier Park
  • The Children's Pool
  • The Cave Store
  • Sunny Jim's Cave

 

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LA JOLLA TRAVEL TIPS

Parking can be tough in the afternoons and on the weekends so we suggest finding a spot to park and then exploring on foot.

PLACES TO EAT

Cuvier Park and Ellen Browning Scripps are great picnic spots along the ocean. If you want to grab a bite to eat in town, we recommend Burger Lounge or Puesta.

ALONG THE WAY, DON'T FORGET TO...

Fly at kite at Ellen Browning Scripps park

Bark at the Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove

Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art

See the rest of the Tiny Travels : La Jolla series below:

Tiny Travels : La Jolla video

Tiny Travels : La Jolla Itinerary

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Juice Crafters

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Tide Pools

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Cuvier Park

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - The Children's Pool

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Sunny Jim Cave

Gray's First Birthday

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset Last week we celebrated my favorite one year old's birthday. We didn't have any elaborate party planned, but we wanted to make it a special day. He woke up to balloons in his crib and an intimate brunch at our home with close family. We sang "Happy Birthday" about 100 times that morning, opened a dozen presents, played with all of his new toys, and then ended up at the Doctor's office in the afternoon because I had a sneaking suspicion that the little man had a bad ear infection and I didn't want to put off getting it checked out. I didn't pull out the real camera for some reason, but here are some of my favorite iphone shots from the day.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset^^^A birthday pancake stack for a special one year old boy

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^^^My Mother-In-Law has made every single one of Holden's birthday cakes and we are lucky enough to continue the tradition with Gray. We try not to let our children eat sugar (or at least not very much of it). It's on a rare occasion that they get sweets and we weren't so sure that we wanted to introduce Gray to sugar yet or at least not an entire cake load of it. So just as she did for Holden's first birthday, my MIL made a sugar-free cake (banana and applesauce) covered with an apple juice and cream cheese icing. 

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^^^As you can see, Gray loved it!

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^^^And so did his big brother ;)

Birthday banner & crown DIY // Hanging Lantern // Indigo Table Cover // Tree Stump Cake Stand // Succulents // Felt Bunting on Table // High Chair