Last year MKB had a very successful Christmas In Different Lands series, so naturally, this year we decided to create one more! It has now because MKB’s tradition to ask various multicultural blogs to participate and share how this big holiday is celebrated around the globe. The following post is a part of Christmas in Different Land 2014 Series!
I have already written about Christmas in China and I have also mentioned that as Baha’is we don’t view Christmas the same way the others do. Nevertheless, we are not against this holiday as it has integrated in many cultures not as a religious holiday anymore but also in a way to have fun and enjoy time. This is the case in China: Christmas is not a public holiday, however you will see so many beautiful decorations all over and parties, especially for kids.
As an English teacher and a foreigners I am often asked to help facilitate a Christmas activity. Recently I was teaching a class on baking Christmas cookies!
We have also learned that in the area where we live once a year expats gather on 24th afternoon for a Holiday cheer and share snacks and socialize.
Since just as every expat we learned to build our own traditions, I thought I could share some thoughts and quotes by other expats and local friends who live here and celebrate Christmas in China:
1. Putting up a Christmas tree is easy – they are available around Christmas all over the place, even in small towns. But if not – taobao.com (local web, similar to amazon) will have it all for you1
2. Inviting friends over or spending time with the family is a great way to bond. Chinese are very fond of foreign holidays so they will gladly partake in festivities.
3. Attend local Christmas parties and events: they can get loud but nevertheless they are festive and fun! There are always great promotions around Christmas too.
4. Don’t have high expectations and learn to adapt: it is never “like back home” because it is a completely different place. But you can still get the best out of it since the whole holiday spirit is a state of your mind!
Here are a few quotes from local expats:
“For us, we celebrate Christmas day in the office/factory, working (if it falls on a workweek). Sadly, Christmas day isn’t a holiday here. That’s why whenever possible, we take a vacation leave to our home land to celebrate Christmas there. But whenever we are left here in China, we celebrate it with co-Filipino families. We either prepare homecook meals or we dine out in restaurants with special Christmas menus. In Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the Filipino community holds a yearly Christmas Party (usually held just before the others have their Christmas vacation)” – M.R, Philippines.
“Go to church at Hong Kong or Macau, back Zhuhai dinner with some friends.. if anyone want celebrate together are welcome” – H.J
“Depends if hubby can get the day off work, but generally we spend it the same way as we would in the UK with family, presents and a BIG CHRISTMAS DINNER YUM!” – C.T., UK (Wales)
“In Christmas eve we will send apple to each other ,because Christians eve in Chinese is “ping an ye” and apple is “ping guo”- ZHY, China
“Family and friends together for dinner and a fun game of present swapping/stealing game!”- J. L, USA
“For me growing up Christmas was all about tradition! So it’s exciting now trying to recreate some of that w/ my own family. We bake cookies to leave for Santa tonight and for M to take to work. Then tomorrow my hubby makes a seafood stew. He is SO proud of his recipe. After some time In Australia we’ve adopted Boxing Day now too and of course as Christians we celebrate the real reason for Christmas by acknowledging and showing gratitude for Christ’s birth. Unfortunately no church service here for us, but we will share the story with [our son] and give God the joy.” – S.G, USA
“On 23rd we bake cookies, then we have family dinner on 24th and open presents on 25th! It is not like back home as there is no snow, but it is still magical” – S.T, USA