One of the best ways to start your Christmas build up has to be to head along to your local Santa Parade! The atmosphere and colour can surely get even the most die hard Christmas lovers out with a smile on their faces!
Christmas Parades are held in many countries across the world and enjoyed by millions. In New Zealand the first Santa Parades were started by department stores in the early 1900's. The Parade heralded the arrival of Santa in store and of course was merely a marketing ploy to draw in the customers. It is understood the first Santa to be paraded on the way to the store was George and Kersley Ltd's "The Economic" store in Wellington.
Over the years, as department stores competed with each other the Santa Parades became bigger and more elaborate as well as the mix of characters growing bigger and bigger. Elves and fairies joined in the fun and as each department store tried to outdo the others elaborate staging was introduced. In the 1930's Armstrong's Santa arrived on an elephant and in 1937 Farmers Santa paracuted into the Auckland Domain!
After a break in the Parades during the Second World War these were again reinstated by 1948. In the 1980's the Parades were becoming too expensive for the department stores to run and the main ones were taken over by Charitable Trusts. Smaller ones are generally now run by the Local Council or Business Association in association with local sponsorship. Community and Volunteer groups also became involved.
So are you going to battle the traffic and crowds and head along to your local Santa Parade? It is worth the effort especially when you see the kids faces!
You can view lots of Parades to visit across New Zealand in our Santa Parade page.
What could be more fun than wandering around your local market. Fresh baking smells, lovingly handcrafted items, each one unique and special, delicious home grown produce - that's what we love and we hope you do too!