A Kiwi Christmas, School Holidays & Plum Jam

A Kiwi Christmas
Image credit: Anna Johnstone

Christmas is a special time... Being located in the Southern Hemisphere it's summer and also when we take our annual vacation. There's a touch of irony with a NZ Christmas. We decorate trees in our homes with fake baubles and fake snow etc. After festivities are over, we then all go off to the beach or have a game of cricket and a BBQ on the back lawn. It is a classic story of adapting to local conditions and what we have come to expect as being normal.

Annual holidays are often a challenge for families with young children such as ours. School is out for 6 long weeks... what to do with them for all that time?

We're planning to do as little as possible over the holidays and have learnt that children will sooner or later find worthwhile things to do that don't require our constant intervention... like go for a swim in the creek, visit the library, play games with each other and make huts etc.

We are a little over "helicopter parents" who busy themselves with micro managing their little charges daily activities. By setting them free and giving them a chance to explore their world on their own terms and take a few risks etc... They will take greater responsibility for their own actions and in turn grow into better all round adults who are more able to contribute to society.

No one will ever be able to convince us that there is any financial benefit in putting in an orchard on your property because seasonal fruit is cheap. Working with the kids to plant, stake and water trees can have its rewards however.

As we water each tree, I read the names out to them. Apple varieties like Oratia Beauty and Splendor or plums such as Damson, Greegage and Fortune all help to create endearing memories. Who knows, in years to come, they may return with their own children to pick fruit from trees that they helped to plant and to establish.

Damson plums... the easiest and most rewarding fruit tree we have ever planted... (Not for eating). This recipe for damson plum jam is one of my favourites and is a hit with the kids too.

More than anything else in this world... your children need to know that you love them.

Whatever you find yourself doing this Christmas... I sincerely hope you enjoy spending time with your family and friends while listening to music you love from your Perreaux system.

Happy festive season!


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