They are many, but for me they need sorting from the other highlights of December in New Zealand. I keep customs like decorating the tree until after I have observed the Summer Solstice around the 21st December. Some of the Christmas joys are quite unexpected like the appearance of this family of California Quail on the road outside our house on Christmas Eve.
The quail were a distraction as I made final preparations for the Ashley Carol Service. The Church of St Simon and St Jude was full, and the interdenominational service, lead this year by Baptist pastor Jonathan Melville, was uplifting and reflective in equal measure.
Supper in the churchyard afterwards is always a sociable and satisfying point for me - knowing that the Committee's months of preparation have paid off, and that now I can turn my attention completely to my family.