Serving up the true meaning of Christmas

Last updated 11:00 27/11/2012
Andrea O'Neil
FIRED UP: Papakowhai’s Tanya Macdonald has her tongs at the ready for her community Christmas barbecue at Mungavin Hall this year.

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Anyone who's cooked a full Christmas dinner under the New Zealand summer sun has had the same thought: there must be an easier way.

So Papakowhai's Christmas angel Tanya Macdonald has decided to make her community festive meal an altogether more relaxed, Kiwi affair, banishing the turkey and firing up the barbecue.

Mother-of-three Mrs Macdonald hosted the first community Christmas feast last year, feeding 65 locals at St Mary's church in Whitby.

Her vision was to provide for the community and teach her three daughters the true meaning of Christmas, she says.

"I thought, you know, Christmas Day isn't about opening presents, it's really important that I teach my kids that it's all about serving."

People from all walks of life attended the lunch.

"We had a lovely lady who had spent the last 30 Christmases alone," Mrs Macdonald says. "There is a need in this community on Christmas."

Last year's meal was a traditional spread - ham, turkey, roast vegetables, the lot. As many of the volunteers were churchgoers, they had to have lunch roasting in various ovens during the morning sermon.

"It was an absolute mission," Mrs Macdonald says. "It went really, really well but I have to say it was really hard logistically."

This year the menu is much more modern - bacon, eggs, hash browns and sausages, all cooked on a barbecue. "I thought, let's make it brunch, because it's easier, so we're going to do it on the barbie," Mrs Macdonald says.

Mrs Macdonald is reaching out to people to attend the brunch, and to supermarkets and community groups to donate food, funds, gifts or time to the project.

"My vision is community for community, so I want community to provide for community," she says. "I am expecting great things."

Community Christmas Brunch, December 25 at 11.30am, Mungavin Hall. To book a table or lend a hand, call 237 7045. Transport can be arranged.

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