I have been slightly obsessed with the song, Christmas Unicorn, from Sufjan Steven’s new Chrsitmas compilation, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vol. 6-10. What do unicorns have to do with Christmas, you may ask? Well, nothing. And this is exactly the point. Thought provoking and just a little bit cheeky, Sufjan brings up some great points to ponder in this extremely catchy song. In fact, the entirety of Sufjan’s new 5 vol’s are full of festive thought and inspiration, and delicious, intricate musicality. Containing some beautiful remakes of classic carols and hymns, along with a plethora of non-traditional Sufjan originals, Silver & Gold may just be my most favorite Christmas album yet, with Sufjan’s previous box set, Vol. 1-5 being a close runner up. It’s not too late to fill your home and hearts with Sufjan’s Silver & Gold this Christmas! Purchased here for just $15.00, this album of 58 songs contains far more yuletide delight than can ever put a price tag on. Hands-down, this is the best musical investment you can make this season.
We have tried to get amonst as many of the festive Kiwi activites as we can this year. For the first time, this included attending Christmas in the Park, a mass event sponsored by Coca-Cola. Held in the expanse of the Auckland Domain, it was an event that attracts close to 250,000 people. We were graced with a beautiful evening to enjoy musical performances by some local music artists, including the NZ’s freshest boy band, Titanium.
The biggest celebrity appearance of the evening was by Australia’s Guy Sebastian, who performed his hit song, Battle Scars.
A stroll down Franklin Road (Auckland’s version of Candy Cane Lane) with friends, proved enchanting and festive. At the end of Franklin Road stood the famous Telecom Christmas Tree, with bean bags underneath for people to sit and stare up at the lights, and a phone booth off to the side to make a call to Santa.
The houses along this street were decorated in similar ways to the way they would be in North America, although the palm trees added a tropical touch.
It felt luxurious to stroll along and enjoy the beauty of the lights without needing 7 layers of clothing to protect me from an icy death.
Even the Sky Tower is looking festive these days, lit up in red and green.
A few days prior to Christmas, we visited the giant Advent calendar in Silo Park, a new development downtown near Auckland’s viaduct. The advent calendar was set up on a viewing platform that is set up in the park year-round, and held some lovely photos and kiwiana artwork to be admired.
We celebrated the festive season in the company of close friends with a traditional Neilson-style Christmas gathering, complete with Flannigan Fancies and Christmas Kisses, along with a Chinese gift exchange, and of course, the Christmas photo booth. This will likely be the last gathering hosted at our little flat on Mt. Eden Road, so it was special to have so many of our dearest NZ friends here in the room with us one last time.
As it is Christmas Eve in North America, we send love to our friends over the Pacific, and especially to our families. We think of you and hold you dear in our hearts. Thanks for granting us the freedom to be apart in times like this, when we know you’d prefer for us to be nearer. We are so grateful for your continuous love and support. Happy Christmas Eve, everyone.