Zonta Club of Christchurch-Canterbury holds Winter Christmas Trail

On 25 June, the Zonta Club of Christchurch-Canterbury, New Zealand, took part in the Winter Christmas Trail, a self-drive tour to see the festive holiday decorations of participating homes.

This year, the club made a signification evolution from the traditional tours they have held in previous years — this strategic shift aimed to address challenges associated with the busy end-of-year season and the summer holidays. By piloting the event during the southern hemisphere's winter, the club sought to ascertain its viability and appeal.

The event garnered widespread attention and participation, drawing attendees from across Canterbury, including prominent members of Zonta clubs in the region. The event's success was further bolstered by the enthusiastic sponsorship from several local businesses, with Ryman Healthcare and The Christmas Hut emerging as major sponsors.

Nine meticulously decorated houses embraced the festive spirit, focusing on delivering a multisensory experience encompassing sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Each house emphasized at least one of these senses, showcasing elements such as bow making, floral demonstrations, gingerbread baking, an Elf House and performances by the local community choir.

The event's central hub, the Christmas Hut Showroom, provided a culinary treat with Christmas cake and hot spiced drinks. At the same time, Santa's presence and an antique Scandinavian sleigh offered memorable photo opportunities.

Attendees were delighted to receive goodie bags brimming with Christmas ornaments and gifts.

A noteworthy aspect of the event was the participation of Ryman Healthcare, which provided two houses from distinct retirement villages. This extended viewing privileges to the residents on the day following the Trail. Their heartwarming responses reflected genuine appreciation, with residents expressing how the visit brightened their day, and the mischievous elves added a whimsical touch.

The St Albans Community Choir's spirited performance resonated with attendees, leaving an indelible mark of joy and energy. Their enthusiastic commitment to future participation underscored the success of the event. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing their eagerness to partake in future editions, highlighting the suitability of the winter season for such an occasion. Attendees praised the diverse activities, remarkable decorations, and the warmth of the hostesses.

While orchestrating a delightful event, the club raised about NZ$19,800 in proceeds, which will all go toward advancing various club projects. The event achieved dual benefits by offering a memorable experience and fostering community involvement.

Collaborative efforts from community members, local businesses, and Zonta affiliates elevated the club's profile within the local community, positioning them as a beacon of positive engagement and meaningful impact.

The club is happy to share that the Trail, built upon the Christmas House Tours foundation, exemplified strategic innovation and successful community collaboration. By hosting a well-received, multisensory winter celebration, they have demonstrated the ability to adapt and offer enriching experiences to the public while advancing Zonta's broader initiatives. The event's triumph speaks to its immediate success and sets a precedent for future endeavors that resonate with the community's aspirations and expectations.