It's been looking a lot like Christmas in Melissa Chan-Green's home since, well, the first weekend of November.
It wasn't entirely intentional, though. Her four-year-old son Busby was sick, so the popular AM host seized the opportunity to crank up the carols and decorate the tree while they were stuck at home.
"I'm trying to be less of a control freak about where the decorations are placed," laughs the mum of two.
"If they're all on one side of the tree or bunched at the bottom, I remind myself, 'It's okay.' Our tree decorations are things we've picked up from our travels or have a personal meaning, so it's like putting up a memory.
"Busby's favourite is a dinosaur that we got from the Natural History Museum in London, when he met his UK grandparents for the first time last Christmas.
"I also just bought a new decoration for Mabel being born – luckily, at six months old, she can't reach the tree yet – and we have a new star at the top of the tree that says 'Green Family Christmas.' I've learned to buy ones that are unbreakable."
Year-round, her gentle-natured son often asks his mum to sing Silent Night whenever he can't get to sleep.
"So at least at Christmas time it feels more appropriate! I don't know whether to be flattered that he likes me to sing or if my rendition is so boring that's why it helps him get to sleep!"
For Mel, the festive season means a time for her close-knit extended family to join together. There's always a bowl of cherries on the table, which reminds Mel of Christmases with her Chinese grandparents, who were fruit and vegetable exporters.
"My mum instilled in all of us a real love of Christmas," says the 40-year-old. "She decorated every inch of the house and had music constantly playing. It always felt really special, so I want to create that same experience for our kids.
"My three younger sisters and I have kids around the same age, so the cousins all have a special bond. They'll be coming to our place on December 25th.
"We'll have an Octopus sprinkler in the backyard and I think it'll be the Kiwi Christmas that I remember enjoying as a kid, where we played outside all day with cousins and had a barbecue. What is so special is seeing our kids have these memories together too. That's the best thing about the day for me now."
Mel's favourite present from her own childhood was a wooden playhouse in the backyard.
"I remember my sister and I sat on this table with the curtains closed in front of us, and my parents opened them to reveal a playhouse outside. Mum said I was shaking with excitement. It's always stuck out for me, which is why I want to do that for my kids some time."
Her English husband, Caspar, 43, who runs a quiz business, has also introduced one of his beloved childhood traditions into the mix.
"Caspar and his dad play hockey, so he grew up with the idea that you find the biggest sock that you can in the house and that's what you lay out for Santa to put presents in."
Son Busby hasn't yet brought home any handmade Christmas decorations from daycare, but is excited to graduate his preschool class and be a big kindergartener next year.
"When Busby was born, [Newshub anchor] Mike McRoberts gave him a pounamu, which he's allowed to wear on very special occasions, so he's looking forward to wearing that for his preschool graduation."
Now with the holidays in sight, Melissa is eagerly anticipating turning off her 3am alarm, staying up a bit later than 7pm at night and heading with her family to picturesque Martins Bay on the Mahurangi Peninsula for a week. It's a beach her family have made a summer pilgrimage to for years.
"I can honestly say 2023 has been the best year of my life," reflects the Newshub presenter. "I feel like my family is now complete, I love my job, I have all my sisters around me and I had a wonderful time off being with Mabel. I just feel really settled and content.
"There's so much uncertainty building your life in your twenties and thirties. I had career ambitions or goals for my family, but at 40, I've just got to a point where I have all I need – and I'm enjoying it."
- Real LifeDaredevil Mike Heard on his bungy jumping world record
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 19, 2024
- Celebrity NewsMatty’s leap of faith from Breakfast on TV to afternoon radio
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 19, 2024
- AdviceJudge Jay-Jay helps a dog mum with an intrusive mother in law
Woman's DayFeb 19, 2024
- MoviesStarring Jacob Elordi and Rosamund Pike, Saltburn is the must-see movie of the year
Now To LoveFeb 18, 2024
- Celebrity NewsComedian Abby Howells opens up about her autism diagnosis
Woman's DayFeb 18, 2024
- Real LifeChefs Monique Fiso & Mark Olive's tasty traditions
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 17, 2024
- TVStarring Brangelina, iconic movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith has had a remake with a brand new cast
Now To LoveFeb 16, 2024
- Real LifeSinger-songwriter Julia Grace talks all things mental health
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 16, 2024
- Celebrity NewsShorty star Awa's violent attack: ‘I was hit and spat on!’
Woman's DayFeb 16, 2024
- AdviceJudge Jay-Jay on maintaining a healthy relationship with your ex
Woman's DayFeb 15, 2024
- Celebrity NewsMuch-loved TV presenter Hilary Timmins on her time on screen and her new book
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 15, 2024
- Real LifeAuckland family's leaky home horror: ‘our lives fell apart’
Woman's DayFeb 13, 2024
- MindExperts share how to use colours to brighten your mood
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyFeb 13, 2024