The joy of Christmas

People celebrate Christmas in different ways, yet for most it is a “favourite” time. Here’s how some of Metropol’s 2023 interviewees will be spending the festive season:

Jason Gunn

Jason Gunn: “The week leading up to Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Our kids come home. And when our family is together… all seems right with the world. On Christmas Eve we take food to the City Mission, flowers to the cemetery, and light a candle at the Cathedral for the loved ones we’ve lost. This year, sadly, we’ll be lighting an extra candle. I lost my beautiful mum this year. I still can’t believe it.  She found good in everything and the best in everyone.  She made the best pavlova on Christmas Day and she put so much thought into every present. Her favourite Christmas Carols were Away in a Manger and Holy Night… I’m not too sure how I’ll be when I hear those this year. On Christmas Day we will head out to our orchard, where we have placed some of her chairs and garden pots… and we’ll raise a glass to this incredible mother, grandmother, and great grand mother. I truly believe she’ll be looking down with a slice of pavlova! As we head towards this Christmas, I am aware, more than ever, that family really is everything. We must take time to create more moments. Because you never know how many moments you’ll get. Merry Christmas from me and my family… to you and yours.”

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart: “Christmas has always been a time of celebration for my family. I love gathering with my large extended family, and anyone scooped up to join us to spend the day enjoying each other’s company around a large table. It is a special occasion to come together with the important people in my life, and also remember those not sitting with us anymore; especially poignant this year with the loss of my young nephew recently. In the week leading up to Christmas I prepare Salmon Gravlax, a recipe taught to me many years ago by a Swedish friend, which has become part of our family traditions. In the last few years we have returned to the nostalgia of our childhood and made pavlovas, alongside new potatoes, green salad, beans, heirloom tomatoes, ham, and turkey. My father showed us in our early years the importance of kindness and remembrance at Christmas. As children we would drive after lunch to deliver meals and gifts to people we knew with no family. On Christmas Eve dad would take fresh garden roses to all our family graves. In this time of celebration it is important to be grateful for all we have and pass on a little kindness and joy. This made a lasting impression on me as a young girl and I have tried to pass on this message to my own son.”


Georgia Waddington

Georgia Waddington: “Christmas for me is the ultimate joy. It’s a day filled with family, laughter, and love. In Christchurch, surrounded by my big, lively family of five siblings, my adorable niece, and my parents, it’s a festive gathering that warms my heart. Our tradition involves a laid-back Kiwi Christmas at a sibling’s or my parent’s house, complete with a festive round of Secret Santa. The highlight? Dad’s incredible roast lamb – a mouth-watering dish that defines Christmas for me. My sister-in-law adds to the feast with a dessert that’s nothing short of perfection. This year, the anticipation is building for another memorable celebration, full of warmth and connection. As an aunty, I can’t wait to see my niece’s face light up with joy as she unwraps her presents. In the true spirit of the season, my heartfelt wish goes out to all Cantabrians – may your Christmas be merry, filled with laughter and shared moments. Stay safe, savour the delights of the season, and indulge in the joy of being together. Here’s to a Christmas that wraps you in happiness and leaves you with cherished memories. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, love from Miss New Zealand 2023, Georgia Waddington.”


Zane Tate

Zane Tate: “I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year! The decorations, the parties, and being able to spend quality time with my friends and family. I always want to make the most of it so my Christmas decorations go up on the 25th of November every year. As a kid I loved seeing the gorgeous trees in movies and that is still the inspiration I draw on when decorating! My trees are filled with bows, birds, butterflies, and baubles with lights draped through the branches that are always on to ensure maximum sparkle! I don’t love the pressure that people feel at this time of year to buy gifts and the stress that can add to a time that is supposed to be about relaxation and fun. So my husband and I no longer give or receive gifts instead we prefer to spend money on experiences and quality time with each other and our families. Like most years we will spend this Christmas with my grandparent’s where my nana makes a beautiful Christmas dinner filled with our must have family dishes, we play games, watch Christmas movies, and spend our holidays connecting with family and friends around the country.”

Lynette McFadden

Lynette McFadden: “Christmas is a favourite time of the year for me. It’s a mixture of good madness, work stress, constant events and lots of nostalgia. I think of it as a precious time for myself and my family. There are some deep non negotiables too. Every year in the week leading up to Christmas Day I visit my brother and my parents in law and lay flowers at their grave sites. It always anchors me and is a way of remembering great times together. Christmas lunch is always a family affair. I’m usually on pouring drinks, setting the table and I do the vegetables and glamorous looking salads.My beautiful sister Elise does the desserts, mum does all the meat dishes, dad gives us his thoughts and our beloved boys cook whitebait for breakfast. After the big day we usually head to Wanaka with friends and family to enjoy a traditional Kiwi summer. This year, after many years where he’s been in the northern hemisphere for work, we have our eldest son and daughter-in-law home, which is an absolute godsend. So I’m giving thanks for the year we’ve had, sending a silent prayer for many more years with mum and dad, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.”



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