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Wendy Petrie and Matty McLean’s festive cheer: ‘Our hearts are so full’

The former TVNZ teammates share their silver linings from 2020.
Jae Frew

Christmas came very early for Matty McLean, who started listening to carols while in lockdown in April. Laughing, he confesses, “It was such a stressful time, I was just like, ‘What’s going to put me in a good mood while I’m trapped in my own home?'”

However, the Michael Bublé fan’s plans to install a Christmas tree in October were foiled by his partner Ryan, who has a strict December 1 rule. The Breakfast weather presenter, 34, tells us, “He pretends he doesn’t enjoy the process of putting it up, but then he has OCD tendencies and becomes very heavily involved in bauble placement. I bring the fun and he brings the ‘OK, but let’s do this right’ mentality.”

Meanwhile, Wendy Petrie has a more laidback approach to the festive season. She confesses, “I’m not very good at decorating, so often the tree will just sit there. The kids will lose interest after about five minutes and then my mum comes over to finish it!”

And while the 49-year-old is hosting a “very Kiwi Christmas with a barbecue and roast potatoes” for 20 to 30 members of her extended family, she’ll leave the bulk of the food prep to others. “My husband’s a good cook, so I always get the easy jobs, like the garlic bread and glazing the ham!” laughs the mum-of-two.

‘How lucky are we that we can actually spend Christmas together?’

While Wendy would usually take time off over Christmas, after being made redundant from her full-time role as a 1 News presenter, she’ll be back on our screens, covering for all her former colleagues as they enjoy their holidays.

“Summer’s going to be quite different for me, but I’ll look at going away with the kids in late January – and anyway, we’re all adapting,” she smiles. “For so many people, it’s been a tough year and while I’ve been a casualty of COVID-19 career-wise, personally, I’ve got to see so much more of my children. My son tells me he loves me picking him up from school, something I’ve never been able to do before, which makes my heart feel full.

“You just have to think of the positive things that come out of the hard times. As Kiwis, is we’re good at taking on challenges and changing the way we do things, which has been great to see, although I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the year being over, hopefully getting a vaccine and our borders being open, and then getting my head around my 50th next year, which I absolutely want to celebrate.”

Speaking of silver linings to the pandemic, Matty says he treasures the quality time he got to spend with busy real estate agent Ryan during lockdown – “I don’t know when we’ll ever have that opportunity again” – and the fact our effective elimination strategy means we can safely celebrate the silly season with our families.

“Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of the year and it’s all about coming together as a family. How lucky are we that we can actually travel and spend time together? Merry Christmas, Woman’s Day, readers!”

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