Christmas parades in the North have moved against sparkly tinsel, plastic-wrapped lollies and other seasonal waste due to growing concerns about the environment.
Parade organisers are encouraging people to find alternatives to use recycled and repurposed items in a bid to reduce waste that often ends up in landfill.
They include the organisers of the Paihia Christmas Parade who want float-makers to avoid balloons, tinsel, glitter and plastic of any kind.
The lolly scramble is also under scrutiny. Sweets wrapped in plastic may be replaced with alternatives like wax paper.
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Business Paihia spokeswoman Steph Godsiff said it was a bid to have people consider the waste produced that while still celebrating Santa's big day.
"A lot of materials from the floats end up in landfill and we want to reduce that," she said.
"Tinsel and glitter, like other plastic they don't biodegrade, they're unnecessary. We're trying to introduce alternatives and educate people. We're not judging people, we're just trying to get people thinking about it."
To further raise awareness, this year's Paihia event on December 6 has the theme Dr Seuss, the writer and illustrator who penned popular children's books like The Lorax, which chronicles the plight of the environment.
There is also a prize for the most environmentally sustainable float.
Godsiff said organisers have encouraged people to think about the environment when making floats in recent years.
"It's great to take a lead, especially when so many of our children are increasingly invested in caring for the environment ... and with many local schools being awarded enviro certifications.
"In the long run it will be something you just want to keep working at. It's just the way the world is going really. To create a whole lot of rubbish for one parade is not really necessary. But we're certainly not trying to stop the fun."
Bay of Islands environmentalist Asha Andersen said Christmas was a "hugely wasteful time of year".
She encourages people to take on the "reduce, reuse, recycle mantra".
"There's so much waste generated on a once-of-year type event," said Andersen, a trustee of Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa. "We need to be more creative and keep our earth in mind at all times."
Waipu Business and Community Society chairperson Bruce Larsen said the Waipu Santa Parade on December 24 will have a new environmentally friendly category this year.
Along with the usual overall winner and best business, community group and new entrant, the environment category will be open to all floats, with a $200 prize.
The decision was made at a committee meeting on October 30.
"Everyone thought it was a good idea," Larsen said. "It's encouraging recycling and using stuff that breaks down in the environment. Us older folks, we have an idea of what we see as Christmas, but everything is evolving and it's a matter of putting our thinking caps on a little bit."
Whangārei District Council venues and events manager Carina de Graaf said this year's Whangārei Christmas Festival at Semenoff Stadium on November 30 will be a zero waste event.
Council will be asking vendors to use compostable and recyclable packaging and will soon be recruiting voluntary recycling ambassadors.
"We took this approach with our Matariki Festival back in June and achieved an amazing result of 91.8 per cent diversion of waste from landfill," de Graaf said.
"We had massive community support to make this happen, and worked closely alongside volunteers, vendors and local suppliers. Our focus is on creating proudly local experiences for our community in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way."
Those preparing floats for the Kamo Christmas parade were also focusing on materials that could be recycled.
The parade itself came close to not being held after increased traffic safety requirements saw costs triple.
Organiser Colin Twyman said a last minute funding through a pub charity secured the money needed.
"I didn't think I was going to go it. Thirty years ago, we had ropes along the side of the street and stood 5-6 metres apart holding back kids. Now we have barriers and diversions."
Hikurangi man Paul O'Dea has been assisting Santa during the busy Christmas season for over 38 years.
This year, Santa's diligent helper will substitute at nine different community events in the region, including the Kamo Christmas Parade.
O'Dea, a member of the Hikurangi Volunteer Fire Brigade, swaps one uniform for a fire engine-red suit one month each year. "I like to make people smile," O'Dea said.
Christmas parades in Northland
Kamo Christmas Parade: November 30 with entertainment from 10am and parade 11.30am onwards.
Whangārei Christmas Festival: November 30 from 5pm-9.30pm at Semenoff Stadium.
Kaikohe Christmas in the Village: December 5 from 4.30pm-6.30pm at the Kaikohe Pioneer Village.
Paihia Christmas Parade: December 6 from 5.30pm-7pm at Williams Rd.
Kerikeri Christmas Parade: December 7 from 11am at the Domain.
Onerahi Christmas Carnival: December 14 from 9am-1.30pm at Sherwood Park and adjacent areas of Community Hall.
Waipu Christmas Parade: December 24 from 7pm starting at Northpine on Cove Rd to the Rugby Club.