China and Its Oh So Romantic Christmas | Speaking of China

15 Responses

  1. Sveta
    Sveta December 19, 2011 at 2:17 am | | Reply

    Irony of ironies is that I have never celebrated December holidays with anyone outside my family. (My Korean ex’s b-day on 24th of December doesn’t really count.) My apologies but I’ve been feeling down because of the usual holidays and my life not going the way I want it to. I realized this year that I cannot stand December. Me being Jewish, I don’t think Christmas is a romantic holiday for me. I don’t mean to insult anyone, but Christmas for me is an annoying holiday. (My family doesn’t celebrate it; we celebrate New Years instead.) In fact I can’t wait until December 26th when Christmas will be over.

  2. Kath
    Kath December 19, 2011 at 3:13 am | | Reply

    I had this conversation with my Japanese sister in law last year. I was saying how Christmas is a family holiday for me and most people in know in UK/NZ, whereas she always saw it as the romantic type of holiday. She’s told me of similar scenes to yours of young couples strolling hand in hand under lights in Tokyo. I thought it was pretty neat but it’s always going to be a family time for me. I adore Christmas and love spending it with those who I care about the most.

    Sveta – hope things pick up for you soon and you have a fabulous new years 🙂

  3. Alexandra
    Alexandra December 19, 2011 at 4:35 am | | Reply

    Yes, Christmas. In China I am loving it. Don’t have to listen to the ads on TV (at least don’t fully understand them) also don’t have to be tempted by Christmas party chocolate or buffets… though I do miss snowboarding! I am planning traditional western style family dinner for my Chinese family! So excited for it! Catering a big turkey with all fixings (don’t have oven) have organized a big long table to seat 11 people, Christmas music, and just an evening to spend time together. I always reflect upon these as my favourite times in Canada when my mom cooks and so many friends and family come over to eat. Secretly I am really excited to be here for Spring Festival!

  4. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason December 19, 2011 at 7:20 am | | Reply

    I can understand Sveta’s view. I, too, am Jewish, and feel somewhat left out at this time of year, although my family always got together on Christmas because we all had the day off! When I was in China, Christmas was just getting off the ground. My ex bought me a Christmas-themed stuffed animal in Hong Kong our first winter together. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so didn’t tell him that 1) 24 year olds no longer collect stuffed animals, and 2) Didn’t he know Jews don’t celebrate Christmas?

    The second point never sunk in. When we moved to the States, he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to hang Christmas lights outside or get a tree. No matter how often I told him that Christmas was a religious holiday–and one that I don’t celebrate–he kept pushing it. To him, and to his parents, who lived with us for a year, Christmas was through and through a secular American holiday. I know that most Americans would agree with that, but if I were Christian, I would be offended by the commercialism that has diminished its religious importance.

  5. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian December 19, 2011 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    Although I am not a Christian, Christmas always bring me a sense of joy, sharing, celebrating and remembering that we are all human beings. I like the Christmas songs esp Silent Night and Joy to The World. Although most Malaysians aren’t Christians, we do have Christian friends who celebrate the holiday and the shopping malls all compete to outdo each other in their Christmas decorations to attract customers. It is unfortunate that in China and elsewhere even here in Malaysia that they are trying to commercialize Christmas even to the extent of turning it into another valentine’s day! Would that the holiday remains a day for family and friends to remember that sharing is caring and not just for romance!

  6. Nathalie
    Nathalie December 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm | | Reply

    Even though Christmas had a religious connotation for me when I was little (we even had the nativity set under the tree where we would add baby Jesus only on Christmas morning), my beliefs changed over the years and I now consider myself Atheist. Even though it’s not a religious thing for me, I still celebrate Christmas.

    This is the one time a year where most people are off work and where we can spend it together. It means time with the family and loved ones (and cooking/baking)! I can’t wait to see my parents, brothers, granparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins! Yes, I also get presents for everyone, but they are usually things I made myself (knitted scarf, bag of cookies/baked goodies, photo albums, paintings, etc.) or useful things like clothes or gift certificates. It’s just the type of thing I enjoy doing and this time of year gives me the chance to do so (it also puts a personal touch of the gifts without going overboard on the spending).

    I dislike the commercialization of it – who the heck buys a $1000 TV just because it’s for Christmas or you’re trying to outdo your neighbour?! I’d rather have a good time with my family and friends (and a great meal!) than going broke. It’s true it can also be romantic; how can it not with all these lights alight at night – and especially when you live in an area that gets snow? It’s cute how many parts of Asia think of it as a romantic holiday, but I wish it wasn’t so commercialized (not so cute).

  7. Eileen
    Eileen December 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm | | Reply

    While I was growing up, I never really associated the holidays with religion. It was simply just a time to be with family. My husband, however, is a Christian. I gave my husband his very own decorated tree. We now have a tree every year. 🙂 I like the holidays even more now that I am celebrating with my husband. I am just thankful that he has time off so we can travel together. I do have Jewish friends who have decorated trees. It’s a personal choice, though. I live in a Jewish neighborhood and I do get goodies from my friends this time of year. 😀 Hanukkah starts tomorrow at sundown (writes it down). Excuse me, I will be baking goodies for loved ones. 😀

  8. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian December 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm | | Reply

    @Jocelyn, before I forgot. Here’s wishing you and John a Merry Christmas!

  9. Barbara
    Barbara December 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm | | Reply

    Frankly, I do feel a little offended, not only because of the commercialization of Christmas (it happens everywhere), but also because a very important part of my culture is being turned into a caricature again (unintentionally, of course). Not only China has long history, impressive traditions and beautiful festivals (however, it seems like many of young Chinese already don’t know most of them). If I’m about to celebrate Chinese New Year/Moon Festival/any other festival with my Chinese family or friends, I’m trying to get some knowledge about it’s origin before. It would be nice if Chinese’d make this effort too.

  10. cvaguy
    cvaguy December 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | | Reply

    Happy holiday everyone!!! Hope you enjoy the time with family and friends.

    I kind of understand why Christmas means differently in China given China does not have a single religion and couples just take it an excuse to hang out. Honestly, I don’t feel offended by commercialization of Christmas even though I am Catholic. Commercializing holidays are part of economical life cycle especially for retail business. In current time, it is critical part of recovery efforts. I bought my family and friends gifts to enjoy the holiday and support the economy.
    Nowadays I use term “Happy Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas” on my cards, since I have Jewish friends and some are orthodox.

  11. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason December 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm | | Reply

    No worries! Your post was specifically about Christmas, as it should be. It’s getting to be such a huge holiday in China, and as we can all see, that brings out a ton of different feelings in all of us. I hope you and John have a very happy holiday season–including a very Merry Christmas!–and that 2012 brings much peace, cheer, happiness, and new adventures. Your friendship has made 2011 a fabulous year for me 🙂

  12. Fred Fong
    Fred Fong December 23, 2011 at 10:13 am | | Reply

    Thanks for the story Jocelyn. I love your writings about romance.

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