The spirit of the season was alive in Hawke's Bay as volunteers put on community lunches, paid for each other's petrol and gave away impromptu presents to strangers.
Volunteer groups in Napier and Hastings held Christmas lunches for those in the community who may otherwise spend Christmas alone or may be struggling financially.
The Hastings lunch was held at the Havelock North function centre for 270 guests. 100 take-home meals were provided and gifts for the 105 children in attendance were given.
The lunch was put on by Age Concern Havelock North and 70 local volunteers.
"It's for people who find Christmas a little tough, whether it be due to finances, social isolation or health," Age Concern Havelock North manager Carol Winters said.
A hot lunch of ham, chicken, roast vegetables and three dessert options was cooked by chef Stu Wilkins and volunteers.
The lunch, which has been running since 2011, originally started as a lunch for the elderly but was broadened to the whole community when they saw there was a need.
"The old and young are able to join together as a community and help each other," Winters said.
She said one elderly man came to thank her at the end of the lunch, saying he would have otherwise spent it alone.
By mid-December, all the places at the lunch had been registered for.
The Napier community lunch was held by local organisations, businesses, church groups and 45 volunteers at the Salvation Army.
A lunch of cold meats, salads, potatoes and sweets was provided to around 170 people and presents for around 30 children.
Joanne and Jim Gaudin have been coordinating the event for six years and are inspired by their Christian faith to help the community.
"We are just there to try to make a difference for what can be a sad day for some people," Jim Gaudin said.
"Hearing their stories and spending time with these people just gives us enormous pleasure. We get more out of it than what we give. It's the best Christmas present," Joanne Gaudin said.
Two Napier councillors volunteered at the event and Mayor Kirsten Wise attended to talk with locals which "the people really appreciated", Jim said.
The couple is looking for volunteers to help with planning and organisation in the two months leading up to next year's event.
Other acts of Christmas cheer noted on Hawke's Bay social media included an impromptu Christmas tree with presents handed out to those who walked past on the beach on Marine Pde, and gift-giving by a generous local who paid forward petrol for the next person who came through the station.