Sunny Christmas in the South

17:50, Dec 25 2011
Christmas
Libby Fox, 2, and sister Gabbie, 5, of Te Anau, enjoying an early start to Christmas Day after a visit from santa.

Christmas Day in Invercargill dawned warm and sunny.

Across the city, children are playing with their new toys.

Young Harry Thompson, 2, was enjoying a round of golf in Queens Park with his brand-new clubs and his father, Dennis.

Christmas
Harry Thompson,2, trying out his new golf clubs on Christmas morning at Queens Park, Invercargill.

''We live right in the park,'' Mr Thompson said.

''This is his back yard ... he's got loads of toys and we're going out for tea later.''

At the Top 10 Holiday Park, French tourists Fred Piegay, Anne-Louie Salvino and Sebastien Jasiak planned to go to Bluff for the day.

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Christmas
Chilling out at the Top 10 Holiday Park are (from left) Sebastien Jasiak, Anne-Louie Salvino and Fred Piegay.

''We don't know what's there,'' Mr Piegay said.

They did not have much planned for Christmas, but had made a big meal with salmon on Christmas Eve.

For them, Christmas in the heat is strange. It is their first summer Christmas.

''It seems it's not Christmas for us,'' they said.

It felt more like a summer holiday than a festive one.

Miss Salvino and Mr Jasiak are heading home in a month, but Mr Piegay would be staying for nine months on a working holiday visa.

He had work lined up in New Plymouth after his companions went home, but said he would be returning to the South Island as soon as he could.

''It's so beautiful. We've travelled to a lot of places and the South Island is the best.''

At Anderson Park, Denise and Dennis Ward had escaped from the stress of Christmas meal preparations and were lounging under a tree waiting for the rest of their family to arrive.

''We've got a dozen people coming (and) we're getting some peace and quiet first,'' Mr Ward said.

The plan was to have a picnic barbecue with their three children, their partners and four grandchildren.

''We've already been up since six o'clock opening presents,'' Mrs Ward said.

The Southland Times