Twas a Moon over Martinborough Christmas

Santa's sleigh and reindeer in front of a full moon.Of course in New Zealand it’s summer at Christmas, and nobody would dream of putting on a big red suit that’s lined in fur.

Here’s my rendition of the famous poem, Kiwi Olive Grove style…



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the grove,
The moonlight was stunning; the trees appeared mauve.
The blossoms were open, petals swaying on air
In hopes that ripe olives soon would grow there.

The chickens were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of mealworms danced in their heads.
And the pigs in the pighouse, their energy sapped,
Had just settled down for a long summer nap.

When out in the grove there arose such a wallop,
I sprang from the deck to see what was up.
Away in the olives I saw such a sideshow,
That I dropped the whole cheese tray and spilled local pinot!

The moon on the crest of the silver-leafed trees.
Spotlighted someone – or something – walking towards me.
I saw there a sight that my eyes could not handle.
Twas a grey-bearded bloke! In red togs and jandals!

I felt somewhat startled and a little bit frantic,
Maybe this was a poacher! Or was it Saint Nick?
But he looked very friendly, so it must be okay.
Then he waved and he smiled, and he called out, “G’day!”

“Mate,” he said, “You’ve worked hard through the year.
But it’s time to relax, now that Christmas is here.
So I give you this year a magical harvest.
Come June you’ll have a great crop. It may be your largest!”

He spoke no more words, but went straight to his work.
He behaved so abruptly, I thought he might be a jerk.
But then laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, he spread Christmas magic all through the grove.

Next he inspected our farm and, impressed, gave a whistle.
“Your paddocks look good. There’s simply no thistle!”
Then he left in a hurry, no time for a speech.
“Merry Kiwi Christmas,” he yelled, “I’ll be at the beach!”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Moon over Martinborough

NOTES for people who don’t speak Kiwi:

  • Togs = A swimsuit.
  • Jandals = Beach footwear. Called ‘flip flops’ in the USA and ‘thongs’ in Australia.

NOTE for city folk:

  • Thistle = A terrible, noxious weed. The ‘down of a thistle’ means it’s spreading! Horrors!

Photo: Doblonaut / Flickr.

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39 thoughts on “Twas a Moon over Martinborough Christmas

  1. Hayley

    Didn’t realise my dad had red togs hahahaha, Merry Christmas to the two of you and your family of animals, I hope you have a fantastic day tomorrow! XxxxX

  2. jeanday

    Home alone , having finished grandma’s contribution to the family relaxed Kiwi Xmas -Raspberry and Lemon Icecream (homegrown produce) Neenish tarts and Limoncello, I was just wishing for a post from – Guess who?

    I came to NZ from London, 1951, and had so many experiences similar to yours. (Including being a sucker for unwanted animals, lambs, goats, ponies, and birds, ducks and roosters. Then having a partly planted vineyard in Marlborough, helping to set up a big winery, before escaping to Devonport.)

    Thanks guys for sharing so many enjoyable episodes of your life in wonderful NZ!

  3. Paula

    The boys love the mealworms part !!!

    They both just loved this – I read it out and then they came over and both read it together again …

    Thank you Uncle Jared for this very special Christmas treat!


    1. Moon Over Martinborough Post author

      The funny thing is that in NZ if you’re eating a kiwi, you’re either eating a bird or you’re eating a New Zealander! Here the fruit is always called Kiwifruit. I thought I spoke English until I moved here. :-) Merry Christmas!

  4. Pauline

    Hahahaaaa great poem Jared! Have a lovely Christmas guys. My ham is cooked and cut, stuffing with cranberries, nuts, sage and onion made, Yorkshire puddings just out of the oven. Presents all wrapped and under the tree waiting for those excited kiddies. This is the warmest Christmas in Wellington I can remember – so enjoying 20 quiet minites with windows wide open before off to bed. See you in the new year friend.

  5. free penny press

    This is wonderful.. From the land of sunshine and oranges (FL) I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!

    1. Moon Over Martinborough Post author

      I hope the storm isn’t too bad but that it gives you a gorgeous white Christmas. The pigs are going to get a special treat of smelly, old yogurt mixed in with their food today. A Christmas feast! Merry Christmas!

  6. Mike McKay

    Jared, he visited us this year too and also promised us a great crop…… of thistles! We must have been bad this year. Or perhaps he doesn’t approve of Californians moving to New Zealand. Well, so be it, we are donning the jandels and heading to the beach. A glass of local savy with this fellow should set things right.

    Merry Christmas from the Bullas/McKay bush-farm

  7. Rebecca

    Bravo! Love the Poem Jared! Here’s hoping you are having a blissful Christmas holiday. Best wishes for a fabulous new year in your corner of paradise. Becks x

  8. Domestic Executive (@domesticexec)

    Love this poem. Mention of thistles brings me out in shivers as I spent our first summer in our new home digging out acres that had unearthed as part of the ground works for the housebuild. At least they didn’t come back in such numbers – it’s the gorse that is killing me now :o(

  9. bennysplace

    I am getting caught up on your posts. I love this poem. You will think I am crazy but I intentionally plant Scotch thistle. I think it is beautiful. Happy New Year Jared. I hope you have a great harvest.

  10. fizboz

    Hey, sorry to disillusion you but yes people DO dress up in red fur lined suits at Christmas in NZ! I had the pleasure to be in Picton (South Island) for Christmas 1995 and a few months either side. On Christmas day morning, whilst swimming at Waikawa bay, in to the dock came this boat all decorated up with lights and streamers. On the bow was ‘Father Christmas’, dressed in the traditional (well for the UK anyway) red suit waving and doing all the ‘Ho ho’ stuff.
    A tradition there as he brings toys and goodwill all around the Marlborough Sounds.
    Amazing site in the sunshine – we continued the fun and swam out to a diving platform with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.

    Best wishes with the book.

    1. Jared Post author

      Yes, it is very funny to see fur lined suits in summer, isn’t it? Always cracks me up. What a nice memory you have of a great Christmas. It sounds fantastic. I love the image of Santa on the boat decorated with lights and streamers!

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