Megan Gattey from Dominion Post chats to designer Nic Marshall and Capital E Events Coordinator Karen Carey about their Christmas wonderland and advent calendars. Read more below…

Far from the beaches and barbecues of a Kiwi Christmas, the snow and mischievous elves of Scandanavian are being celebrated this festive season.

The Danish ancestry of Capital E events co-ordinator Karen Carey has led the organisation to serve up a Scandinavian-themed Winter Wonderland this year.

Capital E collaborated with Danish and Swedish societies to provide a sprinkling of Scandinavian zest on their Christmas festivities, with all proceeds going to newly-formed charity Make Foundation.

Carey says one of the many things visitors will discover is that Scandinavians celebrate Christmas on December 24.

They will also learn about nisse, the “small Santa Claus-looking, human-like elf creatures” who live in barns and lofts and play pranks on people, Carey says.

“They are possibly the best known creature in Scandinavian folklore and we look forward to welcoming them here at Capital E.”

Carey expects Winter Wonderland to be very busy, as a snowy Christmas is an experience most Kiwi children have not seen.

“My hope is children will be leaving Capital E with a smile on their face, in a great Christmas mood and with a better understanding of how Christmas is celebrated differently in other parts of the world.”

People can also expect a giant Wellington advent calendar that reveals a new Scandinavian story, song or tradition each day, Carey says.

Advent calendar illustrator Nic Marshall says the calendar will have a life both as a large scale version at Capital E and as a printed version for families to purchase in support of the Make Foundation.

Marshall believes learning about how different cultures celebrate Christmas will interest many Wellingtonians.

“We’re so used to the imagery that supports a winter wonderland Christmas, but our own Christmas here in New Zealand is so different.”

One of the great things about Christmas is the variety of different traditions and rituals, she says.

“Everyone has their own thing, but it’s such a great way for everyone to take a break and just be with family before celebrating the new year.”

Make Foundation: * Make Foundation is a registered charity working to bring music, technology and art projects to refugee communities displaced by Syria’s civil war. More than 13.6 million Syrians are either internally or externally displaced out of a population of about 23 million. More than two million of those displaced are children. For more information, visit


* Open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am till 3.30pm. Advent calendar doors open at 9.45am with Sunday doors being opened on Mondays.

* Capital E advent calendars are available for purchase at Capital E, Queens Wharf, $15.

* There will be two family festivals taking place on December 12 and 19.

* For more information or to book online, visit

– Written by Megan Gattey, sourced from