You'll need to head for central New Zealand on Christmas Day if you're keen on some festive sun.

The MetService forecast for December 25, published today, gives the first strong hint that Santa deliveries and Christmas picnics may need umbrella protection in the upper North Island and the lower and western South Island.

In between those places, however, it's looking like it will be a cracker of a Christmas.

A lot can change in 10 days but at present the generally unsettled weather of late spring/early summer looks set to continue on many days in the countdown to Christmas, and to linger through the start of the holiday season.

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Some upper North Island areas are forecast to have a fine start on Christmas Day with rain later, while Auckland can expect showers and southwesterlies.

But Napier, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch are lined up for sunshine.

Christmas Day forecast
Whangarei
Fine at first then rain. Not much wind, 23C

Auckland
Showers with southwesterlies, 22C

Hamilton
Fine to start with then rain. Not much wind, 22C

Tauranga
Showers with westerlies, 23C

Napier
Fine with easterlies, 24C

New PlymouthShowers with westerlies, 21C

Wellington
Fine with northwesterlies, 21C

Nelson
Fine with westerlies, 22C

Greymouth
Showers with westerlies, 19C

Christchurch
Fine with northerlies, 23C

Dunedin
A few early clouds then rain. Northwesterlies, 21C

Queenstown
Showers with northwesterlies, 22C

Invercargill
Rain with westerlies, 20C