For friends and colleagues Mike McRoberts and Kanoa Lloyd, Christmas is all about two things – food and whanau. The more of both, the merrier!
As the Three stars clamber into Santa for our fun festive shoot at iconic Auckland department store Smith & Caughey's, the very merry host of The Project, 34, tells Woman's Day, "We're pretty casual in my family – our only traditions revolve around kai. It's not Christmas without my mum's herb mayonnaise, which goes on absolutely everything, or trifle. But it turns out we're some of the last Kiwis who still eat trifle! As an adult, when I discovered that there are people who don't like it, I was truly disgusted. I feel sad for them. It's amazing!"
Meanwhile, Mike is more excited about making the food than eating it. The [Newshub]("I like the time it takes to cook because you get a bit of peace and quiet, and maybe a glass of pinot! I've been vegan for just over a year now, so it'll be a furkey [fake turkey] for me, but because we've got so many people coming over, I'll be doing a traditional one as well."
He and his partner Heidi moved into a new home out in the bush in Titirangi, West Auckland, three months ago, so they're christening the place by hosting family festivities, with her rellies travelling up from Nelson. "It's exciting," says Mike. "Hopefully it'll be a sunny day and we can sit outside, surrounded by the bush, and reflect on what has been a crazy old year."
Kanoa's celebrations promise to be a little more chaotic, with the Gisborne-born beauty and her husband Mikee rushing between celebrations with her mum and sister, her dad and his family, and her nieces.
"I'm going to have three Christmases!" she laughs. "But we're not going to stress out. The good thing that's come from 2020 is that we've all figured out how to slow down and chill out. We've reassessed our priorities, and as long as we're all together, breathing, with music and food, it's all good. Everything else is just tacky plastic tinsel!"
Yep, Kanoa admits she is "a bit Grinchy on the decorations front". She explains, "I don't like anything plastic. Usually, I insist that we're not going to have a Christmas tree at all, but my husband grabs one just before the 25th and then I decide what's allow on it – I'd rather have a few nice things than a lot of rubbish."
Yet that's not the case when it comes to carols. Kanoa grins, "My favourite song is everybody's least favourite, Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney. It's so bad, it's good! It's trash, but I love it!"
However, it's another Beatle who gives Mike that Christmas spirit. His carol of choice? "John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – it's got a great sentiment to it." And as for the tree? "We're getting a real one this year, which will be fantastic. We're really looking forward to that. We've put a pohutukawa in a pot, which we'll use in the future, but it's not quite big enough yet."
When talk turns to the New Year, the dad-of-two says, "I tell you what, I'm looking forward to putting 2020 to bed! My partner's involved in music and live events, and I love music too, so we'll get out to a few gigs. Chris Mac from Six60 is a good mate of mine, so last year, I took my kids and their partners to Dunedin to see them play.
"This year, we're all going down to Christchurch, where my wider whānau live, for Waitangi weekend. We call if Whanau Feels and we even have t-shirts. I'm just looking forward to sitting down, reading a few books and chilling out."
As for Kanoa? She says, "I'm making it a mission to have more swims in 2021. I'm a big fan of going to the beach and eating, and Christmas is a concentrated combination of those two favourite things. I can't bloody wait."
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