Most jobs involve doing some sort of work we don't actually want to do. Even people with dream jobs still usually have something that irks them. It may be filing, it may be phone sales, it may be a certain task your department must do at a certain time every year.

My suspicion is that Santa may see New Zealand as that one part of the job he dislikes. Sure, Kiwi kids probably give him more beer, milk, biscuits and cake than any other nation (we're generous) but, if attending a Santa parade is anything to go by, poor Santa may have reason to complain to Occupational Safety and Health.

Not only is he battling obesity but in New Zealand he must contend with heat and humidity while wearing his big, thick, woolly jacket and thick winter boots. None of this minus-30C North Pole cold. Instead, it's more like 30-plus degree Canterbury or Hawke's Bay heat.

I recently returned from the US and Canada where Christmas lights, trees and tinsel were in place on November 1, right after Halloween. As trees lost their leaves and the days got shorter, darker and colder, the magic of Christmas lights and decorations became more apparent.


Back in New Zealand, the tinsel outdoors just looks tacky among our beautiful early summer gardens, or our own native Christmas tree, the pohutukawa. The sea is blue, the trees are green, New Zealand is beautiful at the moment.

To me, Christmas in New Zealand is cards with Santa on them water-skiing in a red sleeveless vest, families at the beach with chilly bins full of beer and wine and sizzling barbecued sausages, or perhaps a huge family dinner at home - roast turkey with all the trimmings, served outdoors.

The weather in December is still spring-like so, more often than not, we are sitting indoors or perhaps in our caravan or tent.

As for this Christmas Day? At this stage we see a high to our east (the same one that's been over us this week) but air pressure over the country may be dropping, which makes things more vulnerable to lows and rain - add to that a wild card in the form of Cyclone Evan, which some models suggest may brush north-eastern New Zealand on Christmas Day. Farmers will want the rain, holidaymakers the sun and no doubt Santa is one of the few who will be praying for cold weather on December 25.