For many New Zealanders, Christmas Day signals the beginning of a long-anticipated summer holiday. It's a time to celebrate with friends and family and enjoy some good-old Kiwi sunshine. The Christmas 2013 stamp issue by New Zealand reflects a classic Kiwi Christmas, including sunshine, Christmas lunch and cricket on the beach! The five square-shaped gummed stamps in this festive issue are a vibrant reflection of Christmas in Aotearoa, and are sure to brighten up the Christmas mail.
70c Gift giving: the giving of gifts is a longstanding Christmas tradition, both in New Zealand and around the world. For children, the opening of presents from "Santa" and family is by far the most exciting part of Christmas Day, and watching the children's faces as presents are unwrapped is often just as much fun.
$1.40 Christmas lunch: although Christmas falls in summertime in New Zealand, many Kiwi families still indulge in hot meals. Whether it's the Northern Hemisphere tradition of "turkey with all the trimmings" or a few sausages on the barbeque, New Zealanders are sure to over-eat on Christmas Day.
$1.90 Decorating the tree: once the tree has been decorated (whether it's pine or artificial) the feeling of Christmas really starts to set in. As well as traditional ornaments, New Zealand Christmas trees are often adorned with "Kiwi" decorations such as jandals, kiwis and pukeko.
$2.40 Cricket on the beach: if the sun is shining, Christmas Day in New Zealand is often spent outside. Christmas lunch is regularly followed by a game of cricket on the beach or lawn, a swim in the sea, or perhaps a snooze in a deckchair for those less energetic!
$2.90 Carol singing: Christmas carols have been part of the festive season for as far back as we can remember. In the lead-up to Christmas in New Zealand, numerous Christmas shows and concerts take place around the country, at which both traditional and "Kiwi" Christmas songs are sung.
As well as the gummed stamps, three self-adhesive stamps are available in denominations of 70c, $1.90 and $2.40.
Two first day covers form part of the Christmas 2013 stamp issue – one with the gummed stamps affixed and the other with the self-adhesive stamps affixed. Both feature New Zealand Christmas trees – one is a traditional pine tree decorated with ornaments, and the other is the pohutukawa, which is often referred to as the New Zealand Christmas tree.