When is it too early for Christmas decorations?
Less than a week away from December, it’s not hard to see trees, baubles and tinsel already on display in most city centres around New Zealand.
On retail stores, candles, ribbons, garlands and Christmas trees could be seen on shelves last month, even before Halloween.
But for some, fairy lights and Santas should only be allowed after 1 December.
So, is there a right time to get festive?
Joyce Morton, who lives in Auckland’s Mount Roskill, transforms her house into the North Pole itself every year.
With more than 100 Santas and a whole Christmas village, her home has been a neighbourhood attraction for the last 25 years.
“I start in October, I know people don’t agree with that, they think it’s silly. But it used to take me a week but now it takes me nearly 10 days to do it. I’m getting older.
“I don’t actually care of what other people think about the decorations being up before December.”
Sometimes at night if there’s nothing on TV that it’s really worth watching, I sit on my chair and of course it’s dark and all the lights are on, and that’s absolutely magical, she said.
Krystal Poinga, who works as a duty manager in Auckland’s Glendene, takes a whole week off work every year in November to set up her house.
“My boss knows that I take a week off to decorate. If I could leave it up the whole year I would.
“It’s the joy and the excitement for the kids. I say the kids, but it’s actually me, they are just an excuse,” Poinga said.
Altogether, Poinga collects dozens of boxes of Christmas decorations.
She said the revelation of all decorations and the outdoor area light-up is made in December, on her birthday.
“I get the sneaky-peek because I have to test how it looks and when I decide to do the big revelation, I get all the family together for my birthday and put all the lights on, it’s magical.”
Phillie Delany-Lott, a personal assistant who also lives in Auckland, is the creator of the Facebook page Christmas Ideas NZ, where people can exchange decoration ideas.
“I was in the end of my maternity leave, and it was a bit of an emotional time. I needed something to pick me up a little bit so I thought I would start this Christmas page and people can join in if they want to and share their love of Christmas, because I love Christmas.”
As the page got more and more followers, she started to collect prizes from local stores to draw between the decoration enthusiastic.
Delany-Lott said there was no rule of thumb when it came to decorate.
“Everyone is like ‘don’t put them up until first of December because it’s bad luck. But you put them up and then it’s Christmas Day and suddenly, the feeling is gone. Christmas just comes and go to fast so why not put them up earlier?”
Meanwhile, with two Christmas trees and dozens of decorations flawlessly spread across his living room, Onehunga resident Aaron Redmond said in order to help other with their trees, his own decoration sometimes comes last.
“Because I do the whole house, it takes a good couple of weeks to get everything done. I will start in mid-November and try to have our house done. But I have a lot of friends and family so sometimes mine gets left for last.”
He said he thought their requests came through as soon as they saw his tree up.
Redmond said some pieces can cost up to $200 alone.
“I try to wait for the boxing day sales, but that leaves you with whatever is left-over. So, I like to start earlier and sometimes I do like to spend a bit of money in some items.”
He said his hunt for decorations last the whole year.
“Once Christmas is done and everyone is not thinking about it, I already am. One of the things I pay attention to is what the Americans are doing, they really lead the way.”
And on early Christmas decor, Redmond said it’s never too early to start.
“My mum used to tell me ‘It’s not the 1st of December, you are not allowed to do it’, but you know what? Christmas is not made for the rules, you must have fun.
“It’s about the joy that it brings, the happiness that it brings, so why not celebrate that earlier?”
Liking or not, it is really beginning to look a lot like Christmas.