Christmas starts early in Miriama Kamo's house. A month before the actual day, she and husband Mike Dreaver make a special festive cake for their wider family. "It's a lovely tradition. It's fun to make together and nice to share, especially when we send everyone off with a piece!" the Sunday and Marae presenter tells.
Once that is done, the excitement builds over the coming weeks. "The decorations go up about 10 days before Christmas – always a real tree," says Miriama, 46. "The door wreaths and lights go up. The family starts arriving a few days before, then it's a time of planning, chatter and laughter. Often we'll go to Catholic mass on Christmas Eve – it used to be midnight mass, but a lot of us have lost our stamina!
"Christmas morning, we get up to the excitement of whichever kids are in the house, opening their stockings," she smiles. "We'll make a lovely breakfast, then start the gift opening under the tree. Then it's a big lunch with whanau and friends."
Afterwards, the happy clan chills out with a sleep, walk or trip to the beach – then they'll start all over again with Christmas dinner!
But Miriama is also conscious of the impact the season has on the environment. "My zero waste sensibilities have blunted the interest in piles of presents," she says. "The exciting challenge now is to figure out how to give and wrap presents which are of delight to both the receiver and the planet."
Miriama, who kindly delivers gifts she has gathered throughout the year to Auckland City Mission, says the most memorable present she has received was a beautiful dinner set from Mike.
This year the mum of daughter Te Rerehua, eight, and stepmum of son Sam, 19, will be giving her favourite pressie yet. "I can't tell you what it is though, in case my daughter finds out!"
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