Normally the shops here go crazy the day before Christmas. However I headed to the supermarket today for some last minute items and was surprised that I didn't even have to queue at the checkout. My daughter who works at a different supermarket was actually sent home because they had rostered on more staff than they needed. I guess the fact that Christmas is on a Monday is making it less rushed for everybody - finish work on the Friday, then there is still a whole weekend for that last minute shopping, instead of a few hours late at night on Christmas Eve.
On the other hand, the weather is giving me problems. It has been raining and raining, and then raining some more, with a few fine interludes in between. I did a huge pile of laundry, put it in the dryer which I don't usually use in summer, and then found out that the dryer wasn't working. Christmas Eve is not a good time to get it fixed. So I ended up stringing up a line on our patio, which is open at the front but otherwise covered, and "decorating" the front of our house with a load of laundry. It gives new meaning to hanging up the Christmas stockings.
When we were in Wellington last week I took the opportunity to take the photograph below. One of the things I miss in Christchurch is the pohutukawa trees blooming at Christmas. We are too far south for them to thrive - although there are a few, if you hunt them out. This tree is also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree because it blooms so profusely with bright red blossom around Christmas time. As it was a little early, not all of the trees were blooming yet, and those most thickly covered seemed to be out of reach of my camera, but this will give you a taste.