Last year I had a great Christmas with my friends. We made cookies, lit candles, watched Christmas specials and just had a really awesome day. (You can read about it here.)
This year though, I’m just not feeling it. First off, it’s because of the weather. Sunny, clear, and a temperature hovering in the 60’s. I wear a light jacket to class and I take it off because it’s too warm. So, for a New England girl, this Florida-style weather isn’t putting me in the mood.
Second, my mind is already onto New Years. Most of my classes are already finished, but I have one class the day after Christmas. So as soon as it’s over I’m taking off and heading to Shanghai and Hangzhou to see my friends. I’m so excited. I miss them a lot more than I expected and bonus! My best friend Color will be in Hangzhou too, so we will spend New Years Eve together.
I mean, I’m not totally grinching out. My co-workers and I went out for a roasted lamb leg dinner. (It’s the closest thing we could think of to a Christmas style dinner.) And on Christmas eve I have a fancy potluck party to go to as well. But one of the things I like about China is that I can skip Christmas if I want to. I was so tired of it back in America, the pressures, the stress, even the eating. I love Christmas snacks and food, but the year before I came to China I spent the month of December feeling full and sick everyday with the overloads of treats.
While I’m not sure Christmas will ever be an official holiday here, it is getting bigger and bigger. When I first arrived in China holiday decorations were tacky and left up all year long. But the times they are a’changin and now every mall, shop and public area has some sort of Christmas decorations. Also, I was hearing Christmas music pump from Starbucks and malls beginning in late November, and not creepy weird Christmas music but the legit Dean Martin and John Lennon stuff.
And Xiamen is a much more interesting place than Hangzhou for the holiday. Besides the fancy mall decorations, the Christmas spirit is slowly blending into daily life. There was a small craft fair here, with some homemade crochet ornaments, sea salts made by a foreign entrepreneur, homemade cookies and all sorts of snack and even mulled wine!
But it hasn’t taken over every aspect of life, like it does in America, and if I wanna check out for a year and just let it pass, so be it. It’s been a big year for me, and I’m sure bigger things are in my future, so I don’t care if I’m being a bad American, I’m done with Christmas this year. Bah humbug.
The first year in Qinghai I pretty much skipped Christmas altogether and I don’t regret it. It is nice to be able to escape it if we want to.
I am really interested to learn more about that craft fair you attended…
Kim, it was pretty cool! Since I come from new England craft fairs are huge in december so I have pretty high standards. This one wasn’t as good as the ones I’m used to but it was pretty good for china. There was more food than crafts (which I wasn’t complaining about as the food was cookies, cakes, and other christmas goodies I dont see often). But the crafts were things like homemade honey (and pollen), crochet christmas ornaments, hand printed wrapping paper, some preserves. It was very cool! But the day was hot and sunny, with clear blue skies. So Christmassy it was not, despite the little tree in the center. 😉 (Also, santa came later in the day to give presents to the kids.)