When Christmas brings a lot of birthdays too

Junior Apolosi celebrates his birthday on a Christmas Day.
Junior Apolosi celebrates his birthday on a Christmas Day.  Photo: FFX NZ

Christmas Day has always been a special time in Queenstown man Junior Apolosi's family, with four birthdays to celebrate.

Junior Apolosi is a Christmas baby, while his mother was born on December 24. Two younger sisters followed on December 27 and 28.

"It's a Christmas with a smile," he says.

For 46 years Tongan-born Apolosi has been sharing his birthday with one of the biggest holidays, and he calls it a blessing.

"My dad told me that having a family together was the biggest present, you know. Just having everyone there, laughing and enjoying each other. And just a lot of smiles on Christmas day."

Apolosi's family used to celebrate all four birthdays on Christmas Day, but now they live in different places so try to do it every second year.

Many times he has considered celebrating on an alternative day but said it wouldn't feel the same. He has been receiving Christmas cards with birthday wishes and combined cheers at the dinner table all this life.

"To start with it's 'Happy Birthday' because everyone knows it's my birthday and then it's 'Merry Christmas'. It's always a tough one," he laughed. 

Double the cheers, but not double the presents, but Apolosi doesn't mind.

"When I was younger I would get just one present for my birthday. Something small because my parents couldn't afford it. But for Christmas it's all about the family.

"You can have as many presents as you want but having the family there is the most important part," he said.