If this is your first Christmas in London you will right about now be having a moment of realisation. That ‘oh shit’ moment of realisation that the posting deadline for New Zealand was the 10th of December, and if you don’t act quickly you will have ruined Christmas. Trust me, it happens to the best of us (and to the worst of us it happens every year), so I have some tried and true solutions for you. Read on my dear friends and Christmas will be saved.
Your first option is to order something that is already within NZ – I know, totally revolutionary. Quite a few of the online shops will do gift-wrap for you and then courier straight to your loved ones. The benefit of doing this is that you are spending in pounds so even post Brexit you might be able to splurge a little. I wish I had thought of this myself, but in actual fact it is because I used to work at Walker and Hall and spent weeks of my life wrapping presents from hopeless expats (they have Christmas orders right up until the 19th – and you can get some lovely Karen Walker rings for £40ish). When I looked I was quite shocked how many new gift websites have started in NZ so you will be able to find something in your price range – literally google ‘gift delivery NZ’.
You can also get vouchers to most restaurants or cafes if you email them and ask nicely, then you don’t even have to wait for something to be posted – you can tell your family about it in the good old Christmas Skype session. I know that a voucher can be seen as impersonal, but add in that little bit of meaning by choosing a cafe you used to go to together, add in the story when you tell them about it.
Another option is to use your friends. If you know anyone going home for Christmas then sweet talk them into giving up some suitcase space to take your presents back for you. And for anyone who still has friends in NZ (friends that live near your family) then beg them to help you out. They can go to the supermarket, buy a six pack and put bow around it – what could be better than a hand delivered Christmas present on Christmas eve? The important thing is to make your family believe you spent a lot of time planning it – and didn’t in fact resort to this option after missing the Royal Mail deadlines.
If you are totally skint (because thats what winter in London will do to you) then all you need to do is remember that the thing your family is missing this Christmas is you. Send them an email every single hour starting at 11am the on the 24th (when it is midnight on Christmas day in NZ) with a Christmas memory, a funny story, some friendly family abuse – anything to make your family feel like you are there on the day. The sneaky part is that in Gmail/Hotmail you can schedule emails in advance so you don’t even need to stay up sending them throughout the night.
Presents are lovely, but that is not what Christmas is all about. Particularly if this is your first Christmas away from home what you need more than anything else is to help your family feel connected to you – it doesn’t have to involve spending a whole lot of money.