Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


Christmas on the Streets.
December 16, 2007, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Happenstance | Tags: ,

My mother asked me, in my usual phone call home this weekend, if things looked “Christmassy” here in Auckland.

I replied, “No,” but I didn’t put a lot of thought to it. Christmas to me means massive shopping lines and winter storm warnings (happy half-a-metre overnight tonight, Ontario!) and less tax deducted from my pay, but also wreaths and lights everywhere and aisles full of poinsettias. It means a different TV special every night and three million greeting cards exchanging hands. As you all know, there is a real ritual back home about things.

I wanted pizza today but opted to save money and go to Domino’s and drink Fanta as opposed to organic Phoenix Cola from the Pizza Fresco. The additional motivation behind this choice is that I FINALLY had a blog idea that wasn’t just a straight-up summary of something I had done recently. I could show you, dear reader, how not Christmassy Queen Street Auckland looks like compared to, say, Dunlop Street in Barrie? At least, pre-fire Dunlop Street.

christmas 005

This is Auckland Central’s main street. Naturally, there are a lot more tourists and skyscrapers here than in Barrie or Guelph, but there are a lot fewer lights and streamers. Just these red things dangling off the street posts. Sorry New Zealand – it doesn’t feel very Christmassy.

christmas 003

The exception would be the Santa on the Whitcoulls building at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. He has been a mainstay of Downtown Auckland for some forty-seven years. The highlight of this Santa is that is right index finger moves back and forth, beckoning those below to come close and give heed to him. Add that to the somewhat misshapen eyes and you can understand why Auckland Santa creeps a few people out in Auckland, including this Canadian. I have heard a couple of jokes as well.

The finger wasn’t waving for awhile because the gearbox was grinding. A little bit of grease work lately and that finger was in full force today. I have a video if you are interested.

There hasn’t been much in terms of televised specials. Certainly no claymation Rudolph or animated Frosty thus far. Charlie Brown didn’t direct his Christmas play in New Zealand. Shrek the Halls, of course, made it to air.

The radio stations do their bit. The same old made-for-radio Christmas songs are airing: the one with Bruce Springsteen laughing through “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the “Sled Zeppelin” track. I shouldn’t rip on Sled Zeppelin. That track was pretty cool. I was asking around for New Zealand-specific Christmas carols at work, and nobody could offer me up any insight in that regard. Which was a shame only because I needed to plug such a track for my friend Rebecca’s Christmas Carol show last week on CKLN FM. You missed one funny show, dear readers. Then again, you were probably asleep. It airs from 2 AM to 6 AM on Tuesdays.

Perhaps I’ll just be happy that there is no Nickelback Christmas song.

We have a total of three Christmas cards received at the office. I’m sure work back home is overflowing with things. That might be more a reflection of the newness of this company or our smaller size (nine staff versus twenty-three). That and there is no chocolate in our office. I personally made sure some made it back to Barrie this Christmas…assuming Customs didn’t seize my chocolate-laden package that went back to the office. So far, the agency that we lease our computers from dropped off three bottles of wine. That’s…about…it.

There is one street a special friend of mine (yes, I was dating somebody for a month here) took me down after dinner. Franklin Avenue, which is part of Ponsonby.  Most of the houses were covered in lights. Very nice. The apartment building behind me has one balcony with lights. They are all blue.

Lastly, the grocery store had maybe 30 poinsettias available for sale, whereas the Hartsland Zehrs stocks no fewer than 100.

And as I have repeatedly told you all, it is constantly 24 and pleasant here (meaning variable cloudiness with occasional drizzle). A summer Christmas just isn’t a Canadian Christmas, you know.

I only say this because I missed THE big Christmas event here, Christmas in the Park. There are fireworks (I was on the wrong side of Mt. Eden to actually see the fireworks though) and displays and rides and the cast of Shortland Street…. Oops! The food at the housewarming party I was at was EXCELLENT, though.

(Yes, you can interpret this as me being back until at least Christmas.)

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Was dating???

Comment by Sarah

Hey Joe, I just watched the last episode of Canada’s Worst Driver 3… apparently the 3 finalists drove all over Barrie for their final challenge. At least we know you weren’t a casualty of their driving! ;o)

Comment by PianoMan

Are you purposely typo’ing Nickleback?

Comment by Jason

An excellent piece….thanks for sharing these with us Joseph. Most enjoyable.

Comment by Blacksheep




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