Not everyone spends December 25 around the table with family, as Rebecca Malcolm reports.
FOR Julie Chiquet, the idea of a summer Christmas is something completely foreign.
Instead, the French woman is used to a cold and grey Parisian Christmas, marked by attending church services on Christmas Eve, feasting on pastries during the day, eating oysters and keeping warm as the temperatures outside plummet.
It's all about family and being together - but this year Julie's Christmas is set to be vastly different.
Three years after moving to New Zealand, she's about to have her first Kiwi Christmas. Top of the list of attractions is the idea of a warm and sunny Christmas Day.
With her brother arriving to spend the holidays with her, she and a group of other foreigners will be getting together to celebrate the day in a way that's different to their culture.
The 25-year-old is hoping the weather will be warm enough for a Christmas Day barbecue, although only if there's a Kiwi behind the utensils.
"I'm just looking forward to having something a bit different from the cold, grey Parisian Christmas."
Julie says while the idea of a white Christmas is a nice one, it often didn't snow in her area of France until February, so she didn't normally have the white, postcard-perfect Christmas.
And while it might be the season for feeling a bit homesick, Julie says with technology these days she can Skype her parents "and pop them on the table with me".
It's that technology that has made life so much easier for the Rangitutia family.
With Rick working in Western Australia's mines as a fly-in, fly-out worker, there's no guarantee he'll be home for Christmas. This year, he'll be working, so Mel and the children will celebrate Christmas with him a week early at home.
"It can be quite difficult at times."
Instead, Mel says they'll spend Christmas with friends, and a bunch of other "orphans" who for some reason or another aren't spending the day with lots of family.
"It's probably harder for him to be at work and not be able to be at home with us."
She says by having an early Christmas celebration when he's home, the girls will be able to give him their presents, and a Skype session will let him be a part of the action of opening the presents on Christmas morning, even from miles away.
At other family occasions they've popped the laptop on the table in his spot, and had him eat with them - although they probably won't do that this year as they'll be out.
The children, aged 15 and 11, seemed to take him being away in their stride, now that they were three years into it.
"It's just an understanding we have as a family. And one way or another we will celebrate Christmas as a family."
The idea of celebrating Christmas is a relatively new concept for Jie Crosby.
Growing up in China she simply didn't know about Christmas. December 25 was like any other day - with work or school.
It's only been since she moved to New Zealand and married a Kiwi that she's started celebrating - complete with a Christmas tree and presents underneath. They also get together with family for a big meal.
"Now it is a part of my life."
For her growing up the big celebration was Chinese New Year, which included eight days of public holidays and plenty of celebrations.
While she still marks the occasion, it isn't the same, she says.
For Rotorua woman Lyn Hughes, Christmas Day isn't spent with a bunch of family and friends, but a group of strangers. And she wouldn't have it any other way.
Lyn has spent the past three years volunteering at the Rotorua Community Christmas Lunch, ranging from spending time in the kitchen preparing the meal for hundreds, to getting among the action and being a hostess for the event.
Far from being a chore, or something she feels obliged to do, Lyn says it is about sharing the spirit of Christmas.
"My family are off doing their own thing and that leaves me at a loss, I don't want to stay at home and wallow."
She says it's also about doing something different and being around people.
"It's about getting out and being with other people. Christmas is generally more enjoyable when you are around children."
Lyn says the atmosphere with so many people is "absolutely awesome" and seeing all the families and strangers mingling is a really neat thing.
Meanwhile, it's expected about 100 inpatients will spend Christmas Day in Rotorua Hospital - with a further 70 or so turning up at the emergency department on the day.
Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman Sue Wilkie says while there are no events planned for patients in hospital on Christmas Day, the lead-up sees wards decorated and Christmas carols through the wards.
Children who have to be in hospital on Christmas Day will have presents handed out by staff and a special Christmas menu with traditional favourites will be on offer for patients, Sue says.