The Auckland EY office shuts down for two weeks over the Christmas holiday season. The last day of work this year was December 21st and the tax group had our Christmas party that day beginning at 2 pm. We took a boat from the nearby ferry terminal to the Riverhead Tavern (a two hour journey). Then we had time to enjoy the sun on the patio overlooking the river before sitting down to a formal (and delicious) meal. We took buses back to the office around 9 pm. It was a great party and very fun to celebrate a typical, New Zealand summertime Christmas.
|Me and Julie (intern) on the boat to Riverhead|
|Me, Katarina, Christine, and Jonothan on the boat to Riverhead|
Justin and I spent Christmas Day over at our friend's, Anna and Michael, house. Anna's sister and boyfriend were in town from Moldavia and another couple and their son came as well. We had some traditional Moldavian food and had a white elephant gift exchange. It was an interesting way to spend Christmas!
|The crew on Christmas Day (with our white elephant gifts)|
December 26th is a public holiday in New Zealand known as Boxing Day. I did a little research on the origin of Boxing Day and found a few theories. The English tradition is thought to originate from the boxes of gifts and left over food that servants would take home to their family the day after Christmas from the master's house. The servants were required to work on Christmas but would have the following day off to spend with their families.
A more modern British tradition was to celebrate Boxing Day watching the fox hunts which evolved into watching horse racing in more recent years. Justin and I chose to celebrate our first boxing day in this traditional British fashion and attended the horse races at Ellerslie. Boxing Day races are a big deal in Auckland and the race track was packed with everyone (well the woman anyway) dressed up in skirts, heels, and hats.
|Santa Claus on Queen Street in Auckland|