When Northland's very own elves unexpectedly turn up on the doorsteps of whānau in need with a box of goodies, they are met with smiles and sometimes tears.
Today joy will be spread again as volunteers in Whangārei and Kaikohe pack 2500 boxes with tea, coffee, chocolates and other goodies which will then be delivered to families who may be struggling this Christmas.
The project, called Christmas Box, is an initiative of LIFE Community but is delivered by Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust and Te Rau Ora in Northland.
When it came to the region in 2015, 500 boxes were delivered around Whangārei. This year 2500 boxes will go to whānau as far as Te Kao.
• Christmas boxes help Whangarei families
• 1000 Christmas boxes go to Northlanders in need
• Christmas cheer by the boxload for Whangarei families
• Christmas cheer delivered to families deserving a 'hand up'
Maria Baker, chief executive of Te Rau Ora - which will be running the operation for the mid and Far North, said this year will be the first time packing in Kaikohe and delivering to the Far North area.
She said 140 people had volunteered to help.
"Everybody has just been really wonderful and wanting to get hands-on so whānau can get access to something special over the Christmas period."
Baker said it was particularly important rural whānau did not miss out because the distance between their homes and supermarkets meant extra costs for gas on top of food.
"Hopefully this will add to their pantries. There are some little goodies in there that they possibly wouldn't normally be able to afford within their normal budget."
The recipients of the boxes have been nominated by providers working in the communities.
Baker said the families were not notified beforehand so it's a nice surprise for them.
"There's no expectation people will get things over this time because it's so hard and then when something says 'hey, we've got a little something for your whare and for your whānau' it's really loving and sometimes it's quite tearful."
Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust is organising the Whangārei packing and delivery which also happens today.