Kiwi-sh you a Merry Christmas! Yes, what better way to wish you all a (belated) Merry Christmas than with the worst pun ever transcribed by mankind.
The Kiwis love to pretend that they live in Britain, and a lot of their Christmas traditions have been transplanted to New Zealand almost verbatim, which leads to a number of bizarrely dissonant festivities, including a lot of references to snow.
Nevertheless, there are some key differences between Christmas in the UK and NZ which I have astutely observed:
- Santa is warm enough to wear shorts and cut-off sleeves, but still in need of a woolly hat to cover his ears. Perhaps he has eczema.
- Family festivities that involve darkness (such as Lantern Festivals and Outdoor Carols by Candlelight) are slightly hampered by the fact that everyone under the age of ten falls asleep before the sun goes down.
- When you sing Jingle Bells, it’s ludicrous because of all the winter imagery, and not just because of the repeated imperative use of the word jingle.
- There are Kiwi carols that explicitly point out that the traditional Christmas carols make no sense. They’re sung in between the traditional Christmas carols, which brilliantly (although probably not deliberately) turns all the old favourites into deadpan comedy.
- Roast dinners are replaced by BBQs, at which New Zealanders feast on all of their favourite things, including the endangered kiwi, the inedible silver fern, the All Blacks rugby team, and their disdain for Health & Safety.
- Christmas pudding is replaced by pavlova. Frankly this is fortunate, because the presence of both Christmas pudding and pavlova would be like a more-desperate version of Sophie’s Choice.
- If you wear a Christmas sweater, you die, partly because of overheating, but also because the New Zealand wolves can sense wool at a hundred paces.
- Instead of not going to the beach, you go to the beach. All of New Zealand goes to the beach. It’s so crowded that, on occasion, if you stare firmly into the mid-distance, you might even see another person, or at the very least a bird or a shell.
Really the only reliable constant between the two countries is the knowledge that there will definitely be a Christmas cake, it will definitely be forgotten until after everyone is dying of Rapid Stomach Expansion, and then it will definitely be produced amidst groans of horror.
Does anyone want some Christmas cake?
No thank you, I’m too full of the previous fifty-eight foods that were prefaced with the Christmas adjective.
Okay, we’ll have it for dinner.
But you don’t. Instead for dinner you just eat all the lunch foods again, and the Christmas cake languishes morosely, incarcerated in tupperware and slowly sagging under the literal weight of marzipan and the metaphorical weight of knowing that no-one really likes marzipan. Perhaps, the Christmas cake opines in existential desperation, the marzipan will cause my entire being to collapse in on itself, a Christmas singularity, vanishing me from this plane and causing me to re-atomise in a parallel universe, one where I’m the much-beloved gateway to Christmas lunch, and not the gastronomic equivalent of finding a spare plank of wood when you’ve already finished assembling the IKEA wardrobe.
This doesn’t happen. Instead the cake remains, becoming drier and denser, both in consistency and mental faculty. By the time it discovers its true destiny, it is too brain-addled to even comprehend what it has become. A kinder demise.
And what of its fate? Not that of a foodstuff, nor even a decoration. It’s not even a doorstop. Rather, it’s the prop you use when you want to make a joke about needing a doorstop. As in: Man, we really need a doorstop. Hey, let’s use the Christmas cake!
But you never actually use it. It’s too metaphysically irrelevant for that.
Snapshots of NZ… at Christmas!