I blame it on the pōhutukawa. There's nothing more Kiwi than a pōhutukawa. They mark our summers for us.
If the red blooms arrive early, we know summer has come early. If they never really turn bright enough red, we know we weren't imagining it hadn't been a good one.
As summer wears on, the pōhutukawa throw their little red needles on the footpath, making pink piles of debris. Is ours the only country in the world lucky enough to have festive-coloured detritus?
We love our pōhutukawa. They're on Christmas cards and tea towels and kitsch paintings of the beach.
Yet we cheat on them every Christmas. Instead of including the most Kiwi of all trees in our festivities, we betray them with a pine.
What is the pine to us? Nothing but a log for export and a pest in some regions of the country. But it's the pine tree we gather around every Christmas.
We could be hanging ornaments shaped liked tiny jandals and barbecue tongs on our pōhutukawa, but instead we decorate pine trees with reindeer and fake snow. Ever seen a reindeer? Me neither.
And so, the pōhutukawa gets me feeling patriotic every Christmas.
I start off wondering how long it'll take us to be brave enough to swap the pine for it, and end up wondering how long it'll take us to make much braver decisions about New Zealand's future.
We can't go on being part of the British realm forever. It's increasingly ridiculous that New Zealand's ultimate decision-maker lives on the other side of the world and has visited our country fewer than a dozen times.
At some stage, we'll have to make the call to become a Republic. We all know it's coming. It's just a question of when.
We also can't go on with our fingers-crossed approach to the indigenous language of this country. Our attitude seems to be we hope it'll survive without us having to do the work to save it. But we have to do the mahi and spend the money.
Any argument about saving Te Reo Māori ends up with the solution it must be compulsory in schools. My fear is we'll only make the call when the situation becomes so desperate it's too late.
Finally, we can't keep silent about Australia's recent dick moves. That country's appetite for bullying seems never-ending — from cutting entitlements to Kiwis living across the ditch, to holding refugees in island jails.
Judging by our relative inaction, you wouldn't know we consider ourselves a country with a conscience.
You wouldn't know we list among our greatest achievements standing up to the greatest nation on Earth over nuclear power, helping set up the United Nations and protesting racism on the other side of the world.
Why do we continue to ignore the offensive behaviour of the country right next door? Especially when it involves our own citizens.
For some reason, this summer it feels a bit like New Zealand is reaching a tipping point. It feels like we're about ready to make some calls that will define us as a country.
It has been a while since we've been brave, but there are some heartening signs: the recent flag referendum, the surge in demand for Te Reo Māori classes that's so high it can't be met by Auckland providers, the Prime Minister's recent jab at Australia over Manus Island.
All the necessary brave decisions won't happen at once, or even in one decade.
But I'm hoping at least one brave decision about New Zealand's future will be made by the time the pōhutukawa blooms are out next summer.