Like many of you, I am sure, I have spent time over the Christmas break reflecting on the tumultuous events of 2020 and constantly reminding myself just how fortunate we are in New Zealand to be able to live relatively normal lives compared to so many others around the world.
It is very clear we are not out of the woods yet.
Many in the health sector still consider further community outbreaks of Covid-19 as inevitable (not if, but when) and that underpins the need for all of us to remain disciplined and vigilant.
There is a sense that we are over the worst and that we can ease off a little.
However, that would be a big mistake, and one we cannot afford to make.
The health sector has performed remarkably well throughout the crisis and will be at the forefront of our minds as we roll out vaccinations in the coming year.
None of us should forget that health activities contribute to approximately 10 percent of New Zealand GDP and the one in 10 people employed in New Zealand are working in health-related areas. It is very clear that all activities related to heath are vital to each of us.
We need to fully appreciate that here in Canterbury where so much good is being done in the sector, there is much opportunity to do better.
As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, why not take the same positive approach to your festive flair? Before you go crazy at the shops on everything from too much tinsel to over-the-top ornaments, consider an eco-friendly approach to your home’s festive décor.
The best part is that creating a consistent holiday look throughout your home while spreading Christmas cheer is surprisingly easy to achieve with little more than a few Resene testpots.
Whether balls, stars, hearts or angels are your cup of tea, dazzling Christmas tree ornaments can be achieved for far less than the cost of brand-new items.
By taking a creative approach, almost anything destined for the recycling bin can enjoy a second life as a Christmas ornament.
If you’re feeling crafty, upcycle some wood offcuts from a previous project and turn them into simple shapes using a jigsaw or scroll saw.
Paint them in your favourite Resene colours, drill holes near the tops, run through some ribbon or twine, and you’ll have everything you need to trim the tree in no time.
The best thing is if you want to change your theme colours next year, you can just paint them again.
Or, grab the kids and take them for a walk to the op shop and hunt out some old ornaments that could be made new again.
You’re sure to find some quirky treasures that will quickly become family favourites.
**Walls painted in Resene Merlot; floor in Resene Half Spanish White; coffee table in Resene Merlot, stars on the back shelf in Resene Triple Concrete; the tree ornaments in Resene Quarter Spanish White and Resene Merlot; star trays in Resene Triple Concrete; small bowl with sweets in Resene Ebb; boxes in Resene Merlot, Resene Ebb and Resene Triple Concrete.
It’s that extra sensory month when taste buds rejoice in the season, eyes are bedazzled with tinsel-adorned trademarks, and ears are jiggle-belling to the jolliest day of the year. Our sense of smell too is in festive frenzy. Sniffing seasonal reminders will awaken happy memories and raise our spirits – this Christmas especially.
XMAS FLOWER X-FACTOR
Christmas lilies give a room, an instant Kiwi-Christmas smell. Flowering on cue in December, with blooms held high in snowy white, the pretty scent wafts headily through the air.
Mysterious Frankincense and Myrrh both have origins from three very wise men. These therapeutic essential oils added to diffusers or even bath water, create a very mesmerising merry mood.
Sprinkle cinnamon, anise, ginger, cardamom and allspice, and try the traditional orange poked-with-cloves for Santa-scented decorations. Whiffs of brandy and rum are a big yuletide nod.
The most magical Christmas scent of all is the smell of a real pine Christmas tree. Pine essential oil does the trick too. With antiseptic, and healing benefits, pine also invigorates the mind.
Coconut oil, sea salt and sand, and a sizzling BBQ combined with these more clichéd Northern Hemisphere Christmas scents, is a joyous olfactory overload that we cannot overdo!
Our fashion-forward friends in the Northern Hemisphere have long shown us a holiday season dusted in snow and fireside festivities. But downunder, we know a summer Christmas is a time to embrace the outdoors with our loved ones. So here’s our tips for al fresco entertaining this holiday season.
While Christmas light displays around the country have been scaled back or dimmed altogether this pandemic year, there is no reason you can’t create some lit up magic at your place. String up some fairy lights, lanterns (and the odd citronella candle) to create some fairytale Christmas atmosphere. Whether that means decorating your tent poles, pergola, or shade sail – soft lighting creates ambience as you entertain into the night.
Shirk the traditional Christmas day meal altogether by packing up a picnic and hitting your favourite beach, river, lake or park. Set up blankets, cushions and some makeshift low tables (crates, trays and chilly bins should do the trick) and settle in for the day. Or, go all out with tables, chairs and awnings. Opt for portable feasting options like a leg of ham, made-at-home salads and platters. Capitalise on public barbecue facilities, or BYO.
There’s no reason why you can’t recreate your interior holiday aesthetic, outdoors, like this inspired set-up by Freedom, pictured. Increasingly indoor-styled outdoor areas have been centre stage in 2020, as attention turned to renovations and remodels in the places we spent so much of our time. Louvre systems create easy access to the sunshine, and protection from the elements while exterior furnishing emulates those indoors, from dining and lounging suites to outdoor art, rugs and décor. So, if the weather allows, just set up your festive indoors, out.
You have been hearing it all year, shop small business and shop local. Well there’s no better time to act on this sage advice than at Christmas time, and no better place than at Coco Gifts.
Owner Liz van Montfort says the St Albans store has your Christmas checklist covered.
“We’ve got lots of stock not affected by the Covid-19 shortages, we’ve got good supply chains and are well and truly into Christmas,” she says.
The store stocks a range of popular New Zealand brands such as French Country, Citta, Beau Accessories, Four Corners, Helga May, Babu and Moana Road.
Some highlights spotted in store include new Willow Collective earrings, Christmas lily candles by Surmanti, Stella + Gemma jewellery, and candles made by Downlights NZ, Essentially Tamara’s Christmas collection of shower bombs and an array of stylish Christmas decorations.
Whatever you choose, complimentary gift wrapping is always available to make it an easy process from store to tree.
Visit the store at 63 Rutland Street, where there is ample, easy parking. Follow Coco Gifts on Facebook or check out the online store.
Wrapping gifts can be one of the funnest parts of Christmas – from choosing stylish paper, ribbons and gift tags, to thinking outside the box.
This year, why not pass on non-recycled paper altogether and opt for more sustainable gift adornments. A favourite idea is to use fabric – or even tea towels like the Citta ones pictured – to swaddle the present.
Purchase fabric off cuts from your local fabric or second-hand store, pop it in the wash, and get creative.
If the fabric doesn’t lend itself to being tied, use yarn or pegs to hold it in place. For gift tags, explore items around home which can be repurposed: Cardboard with a lick of paint, more fabric with cardboard glued underneath, or a coffee sack from your local coffee shop.
After all, sustainability is the gift which, quite literally, keeps on giving.
Christmas; it’s almost inextricably connected to food. And, while there will no doubt be the traditional ham, fruitcake and mini mince pies on the table this year, the festive season is also an opportunity to mix things up. We’ve pulled together our favourite ways to do just that.
When it comes to Christmas feasting, not everything has to be elaborate.
Why not make simple pleasures just a little bit more special?
Roasted carrots – boring! Lemon-maple roasted carrots, on the other hand – divine!
Roast chicken and vegetables too can get a flavourful twist by adding a simple mustard-tarragon sauce and garnishing with summery pomegranite.
Hasselback potatoes look fantastic, right?
They’re also incredibly simple. Why not try your hand at mini hasselback potatoes with chive butter for a clever looking appetiser that is so tasty it isn’t likely to just be relegated to festive feasting!
When you’re done with that, give hasselback butternut squash with maple-brown butter sauce a go. It’s a unique spin on a classic vege, but the addition of mustard, sweet maple and aromatic brown butter transforms an otherwise boring side dish into something exquisite.
Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by loading them up! Crispy smashed potatoes with cheese and bacon crumb is a great way to level up a plain vegetable.
And why not roast your kumara with coriander this year and drizzle it with a mix of yoghurt and lemon juice to give it a tangy finish?
It will feel like all your Christmases have come at once.
It’s a time of cheer and festivity. But unfortunately, the holiday period can come with its fair share of stress, too. From pressure to attend events, spend money on gifts and time with loved ones to organising the perfect day and having guests to stay: The festive season can too easily come with a hefty mental load. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this Christmas with Metropol’s round up of tips from the experts.
FIVE (FESTIVE) WAYS TO WELLBEING
The Mental Health Foundation advises Kiwis to keep its Five Ways to Wellbeing in mind: Connect, give, take notice, keep learning, and be active. Especially the give bit. “Try to keep in mind that the true gift of the season is our presence, not our presents,” advises the foundation. “Giving our time, our words and our presence makes others feel great, but it also lifts our own mood and makes us feel our lives have more meaning.”
THE GIFT OF DELEGATION
This year, deck the halls with delegation. Don’t give into out-dated expectations to do it all. If you can, buy pre-made or delivered menu items and invite guests to help by not only bringing their own contribution on the day, but also with preparations and clean-up. Kids and grandkids can also get in on the action with small jobs. Big family? Why not introduce a spending limit, or pull names from a hat to get one nice gift each.
FATHER CHRISTMAS, MOTHER NATURE
Getting out in nature is another science-backed mindfulness hack endorsed by the Mental Health Foundation – and what better time to do so than during a Kiwi summer! Head to the beach, on a nature walk or even just out into your backyard. And, why not combine this mindful activity with other proven pick-me-ups by doing so with friends and family, exercise or relaxing with a book, podcast or music?
Cultivating gratitude – where you focus on what’s good in your life – is widely acknowledged by psychologists as a powerful mental healthiness tool. Evidence from too many studies and experts to list here shows those who regularly practice counting their blessings are happier and less depressed. Start writing down a few things each day you’re thankful for this festive season, and watch the stress melt away. Check out www.begreat.co.nz for resources and tips.
Tableware has been stealing our homeware hearts in 2020, so what better meal to embrace the trend than a Christmas Day feast. Often one of the few meals of the year enjoyed with so many loved ones, Christmas mealtimes embody the beauty of food to bring people together. Enhance that mood with an exquisite tablescape. Here’s our inspiration round-up.
Like the stunning design pictured by BoConcept, a hanging arrangement adds a wow-factor to your celebratory meal – and leaves more room on the table. Fashion a hanging display from pine branches and cones for a traditional, wreath-inspired take, or mix in modernity with toi toi, eucalyptus or dried flowers. The addition of hanging decorations, like here, brings a definitive Christmassy touch.
If you love the charm of classical Christmas style, embrace greens, reds and golds. A white tablecloth can set the scene, overlaid with table runners, linen napkins and polished cutlery. Crystal, (or crystal-look) glassware and candle holders will add a glint of occasion, especially with the lit candles themselves. Employ pine, or pine-look, greenery adorned with ribbons, mini-cones and the odd ornament.
Stylists and interior magazines are showcasing contemporary takes on this traditional day which include more pared back table themes. We’re seeing natural, terracotta and forest green coloured linens alongside jute placemats and ceramic serve ware. Festive colours are being delivered with gold cutlery and candlesticks, and baubles used as napkin ties. Dried flowers endure, but perhaps with a pop of fresh red for some floral festivity.