Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas lights

Last night, I took the kids to see the famous Franklin Road Christmas lights.
Now, as a rule, Kiwis don't go in for the whole 'deck the halls' fuss that Aussies do. So Franklin Road, refreshingly close to where we live, is unusual.
Basically, nearly the whole street chooses to decorate their homes, apartments, and businesses with lights and decorations.
And families, groups of teens and romantic couples, young and old, like to visit the street at night, ambling up and down, admiring the displays and perhaps enjoying a hot chocolate or coffee from one of the vans that set up each evening.
Bearing in mind that it doesn't get dark here until after 9 pm - way after kiddies' bedtime - we chose to wait until school had finished for our first visit. We learned long ago that late nights and school days don't mix!

We took a detour to the Victoria Park Christmas tree first, where the kids made yet another phone call to Santa and watched their 'wish' travelling up the tree and off to the North Pole.

The kids had a fab time on Franklin Road, and even talked me into coughing up for a Big Thumb each. A Big Thumb is an ice-block which you can wear on your thumb. Except the kids, of course, asked for a Big Bum when it was their turn to be served!
Our evening followed a disastrous trip to the shops to do last-minute Christmas shopping.
As in Brisbane, the stores are packed this time of year. What's weird though is you walk outside without being immediately being knocked back by hot, humid air. In fact, as we walked back to the car, H. whined: 'I'm cold'.
It was rainy, windy and cool - no surprises for Auckland, but it would never happen this time of year back home, when even the rain is warm!
Kids were fussy, and we ended up coming home empty handed. (Though we did enjoy a lovely Japanese lunch.)
We still have a few presents to pick up, so that's going to be interesting over the next few days with two kids in tow.
If only they had 'drop and shop' like they do at our former local shopping centre, Mt Ommaney!
Christmas will certainly be different this year, but at last it's starting to feel a bit more like the festive season.

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