The group blog WWAM BAM! just published my post Seeing Christmas Through the ‘Apple’ of China’s Eyes. Here’s an excerpt:
The other day, while browsing Alibaba’s Tmall, the online giant’s popular virtual shopping center, I happened upon a Christmas item that I had never seen before: gift boxes for Christmas Eve Apples.
They had the kind of charming little Christmas trees, Santas, reindeer, snowmen and holiday greetings you would expect to find on cards or boxes at, say, a Hallmark store. Except you wouldn’t find such a product on any shelves of a Hallmark store. Never in America had I encountered boxes made explicitly for apples that you present on Christmas Eve — because no such tradition existed in my home country.
Yet, based on the stats for this online store in China, over 100,000 people have already ordered sets of 50 from them just this month. And that store has plenty of company, with tens of others vying to gain business from young people who want the perfect little box for their Christmas Eve Apples.
I had known for some years that China turned Christmas Eve into a time for giving apples, particularly among young, urban people (even though it’s not a tradition in any Western country that celebrates Christmas). But I didn’t realize you even needed special boxes for the apples!
It stood as proof of just how far the tradition has integrated itself into the lives of young, urban Chinese — that it had spawned an entire industry of packaging to support the custom.
You can head on over to WWAM BAM to read the rest of the piece. And if you like it, share it!
P.S.: If you’re looking for gift-giving ideas this holiday season for someone in China, yes, I’ve recommended apples — but you can also see other suggestions at my classic post on gift-giving in China.