Hundreds of people came flooding through the doors at Auckland's Spark Arena at noon today - all in a bid to soak up some Christmas cheer.
Every year Auckland City Mission welcomed people "from all walks of life" to "forget their worries" and enjoy a two-course donated Christmas lunch immersed in festive on-stage entertainment.
This year was one like no other.
While queues stacked up outside, volunteers who had been up since dawn preparing for the magical event warmed up the stage with an entertaining dance-off featuring songs from the Spice Girls, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.
Tables topped with colourful balloons and centred with candy canes, Christmas crackers and treats were soon crowded, with over 1800 people present shortly after noon.
Former Bachelor star Art Green and his fiancé Matilda Rice were among the 600 volunteers lined up to welcome Christmas diners into the building.
Rice said she remembered volunteering with her dad when she was 15 years old, and she couldn't wait to be a part of it all over again.
She said it was the "community feel" that brought her back.
"The idea around Christmas is to give and help other people who are maybe not as fortunate as us, so we thought it was a nice way to give back where we can," she said.
For Green, it was his City Mission Christmas Lunch debut.
"It's my first time and I've been pretty excited about it. It feels pretty great to do something good for others and that's what Christmas is all about, isn't it," Green said.
The event has been brains of Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly, who has spent the last six months preparing for the annual event.
Farrelly said the last three weeks had been strained in the sense that there had been large numbers of people requiring food assistance for Christmas.
"Today, we just moved back and have seen amazing generosity from the community. Such such joy, inclusivity and connectedness," Farrelly told the Herald.
People who would otherwise be alone or were escaping some form of something were connecting and that was really special, Farrelly said.
"Just by walking in you'll feel cared for and loved and that's what it's all about."
Farrelly was leading the operation with the help of his son and the 600 volunteers.
Douglas Hadfield and Moana Ryer were positioned in the middle of the crowd enjoying the lively scenes surrounding them.
"We live in a lodge just the two of us and we decided to get out and enjoy the Christmas spirit. Our social worker gave us the tickets so we thought why not," Hadfield said.
For Nishanthi Sengundar, the festive day had double meaning - it was her 29th birthday.
"Being here with all these people is so special, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Attending the event was a surprise gifted to her by her husband Sundar. The couple were joined by their children and family friends.
As the day progressed live music played, children danced and the happy vibes continued - making the event yet again a notable success.