How COVID-19 has changed Christmas with New Zealanders in managed isolation

Almost 6000 New Zealanders were lucky enough to make it back home for Christmas, despite COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the world.

Straight off a plane from the United States and into a two-week quarantine - this is Christmas Day in a pandemic.

Dr Forrest Pommerenke travelled up from Thames for the chance to get a glimpse of his wife, Jannette. He told Newshub he hasn't seen her for nine months, and was thrilled to catch a glimpse of her on Friday.

But the reality of why quarantine is the best weapon against coronavirus entering the country is never too far away.

James visited one quarantine facility on Christmas day to deliver presents to his cousin who has contracted COVID-19.

"She caught it off the plane, passed her first test, failed her second one and then she got reported to here so it'll be like a month after she's finished - which is pretty long," he told Newshub.

Sharon Clark's son Adam has been working off-shore for the past six months and in that time, there have been some developments.

"I've got a new daughter-in-law and I haven't met her yet, so I thought I'd come down to meet her for Christmas, so it's lovely!"

The unexpected in these strange times has suddenly become the norm.

"The whole world's gone topsy-turvy hasn't it?" she said.

But if Christmas is traditionally about family then this one was no different to any other.

And for some this year just might be their favourite. Dr Pommerenke told Newshub having his wife home is "the best Christmas present" he's ever had.

"No question about it."