Mid winter Christmas may not be an official festival but it is a fun way to warm up winter, especially for families who are not used to a hot kiwi Christmas. If you live in the South Island, then you may be able to use real snow for some of these ideas, but the rest of us can come to a happy compromise.
Set the Scene
Deck the halls with boughs of holly – literally! Pull out your Christmas decorations, go hunting for pine cones, and bring the best of your winter garden inside. Don’t skimp on the decorations just because it’s winter, use it as a reason to go overboard.
You can exaggerate the winter theme by painting fake snow on the windows, and stretching cotton wool around the room. Polystyrene makes great imitation snow, and can be cut into all sorts of fun shapes. Be aware that polystyrene is a choking hazard, so only use it if your children are out of the danger range.
If you don’t have a fireplace, create a fake one in the corner of your lounge using red and orange cellophane, and a few logs of wood. You can create an entire winter scene with snowflakes, marshmallow toasting sticks, and even a snowman. Add a pair of black gumboots for a little kiwi flavour.
Have Some Fun
Make the most of the Christmas spirit, and play some silly games with a winter or Christmas theme.
Pin the Red Nose of the Reindeer
Just like pin the tail on the donkey, draw a picture of Rudolph on a large piece of paper, and have everybody try to pin the nose in the right place while they are blindfolded. To make it easier for younger players, you could use red sticky dots instead of sharp pins.
Paper Snow Ball Fight
Roll up lots and lots of ‘snow’ balls from old newspaper, and have a good old fashioned snow ball fight. You could set up all sorts of challenges, or simply see who can get rid of their snowballs the fastest. Remember, as you are emptying your corner, other players will be filling it up!
If you don’t have a snowy hill nearby, you can still go sledging (or sliding) on the grass. Wait for a frosty morning, and hit the slope with a plastic rubbish bin lid or boogie board. You have to catch the grass while there is still dew on it, but it is lots of fun.
Christmas is a great time to get creative, and a mid winter Christmas is no different. Pull out your craft box, and have a go at these Christmas craft ideas.
Using waterproof adhesive, glue plastic figurines to the bottom of a jar lid. You could add trees, miniature buildings, vehicles or special characters, depending on the size you have to work with.
Once you have finished creating a winter or Christmas scene, put 2-3 teaspoons of glitter into the jar, and fill it up with water. Tightly screw the lid on to the jar, and turn it upside down to see the snow (or glitter) fall.
If you are making these snow globes with preschoolers, you may want to use plastic jars, and check the lid is screwed on extra tight.
Create sparkling snowball decorations by covering ping pong balls with silver and white glitter.
Start by laying a piece of ribbon across the ball, and taping it in the centre with a piece of double sided tape. Roll the taped piece of the ball into coloured glitter.
Criss-cross more pieces of double sided tape around the ball, and keep rolling it into the glitter until you are happy with the design. Add more tape, and more glitter as necessary. Once finished, take the loose pieces of ribbon, and tie the snowball to your Christmas tree.
Enjoy Some Traditional Winter Treats
There are some Christmas treats which are just not the same in the middle of summer. Make the most of the cold weather and enjoy some traditional Christmas treats, (in weather they are suppose to be eaten in).
Mulled Apple Juice
Mulled Apple Juice is a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine – and it’s just delicious.
- Boil together 300ml of water, ½ cup sugar and 1 cinnamon stick until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add 2 sliced lemons, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Pour in 2 litres of apple juice and heat through.
I like to transfer the mixture to my crock pot and leave it simmering all day.
Toasted Marshmallows and Roasted Nuts
Stoke up a fire in an outdoor brazier, and toast marshmallows on long sticks. When the marshmallows are gone, place a tray of nuts over the top of the brazier, and pour in some maple syrup. After about 40 minutes, the nuts will be hot and deliciously sticky!
Non Alcoholic Egg Nog
New Zealanders are still learning about the wonders of egg nog, but in many countries around the world, Christmas isn’t complete without it. True egg nog is full of brandy and rum, but here is a child friendly version that your whole family can enjoy.
- Separate the yolks from the whites of 12 eggs.
- Beat the egg yolks with ¾ cup of white sugar, until the mixture is creamy.
- Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, then stir through ¾ cup of white sugar.
- Whip 300ml of cream and teaspoon of vanilla essence until thick.
- Fold all 3 mixtures together, and leave in the fridge for about a day.
- Shake well before serving.
Make the Most of Winter Gifts
By default, kiwis usually get summer orientated gifts for Christmas – things beach towels, jandals and sun hats. Why not wrap up a few special winter gifts, to make your family feel snug and warm. Some great winter gift ideas are:
- Novelty Slippers
- Polar fleece hot water bottle covers
- Woolen socks, hats and gloves
- Fun and funky thermals
- Hot Chocolate mixture complete with marshmallows
- Wheat bags
- Bubble bath
Remember, Christmas isn’t just about presents, it’s about fun, family, and memories. So instead of hibernating this winter, why not take the chance to celebrate one of our favourite festivals again. See, Christmas can come more than once a year.