Recently, China Daily published my holiday-themed column Christmas tree a symbol of love, acceptance across cultures. Here’s an excerpt:
My old Christmas tree－the very one I bought years ago at a Hangzhou supermarket－was the last thing I expected to find in my in-laws’ storage room in their rural Zhejiang home.
My husband Jun and I had just moved back to China after spending years in the United States, my home country. We had decided to stay at the family home during our transition back to life in China, which just happened to overlap with the start of the Christmas season.
While I recognized we probably couldn’t “deck the halls” with the same flair as my family had done in the US, I still longed for that one holiday necessity－a Christmas tree.
The last time we had owned an artificial tree in China, we lived in a small apartment in Shanghai, where it always occupied a place of importance in our living room every Christmas. But before moving to the US, we had left the tree behind with Jun’s family, like many other possessions we could never have packed because of the limited space in our luggage.
I knew his parents, frugal by nature, cherished the many practical household items we had passed on to them. Yet, if there was one thing I felt certain they had already jettisoned from our Shanghai days, it was the old Christmas tree. After all, they hadn’t grown up celebrating the holiday, and I had never glimpsed a single Christmas decoration in their rural home.
Why would they hold onto something that ostensibly had no obvious place or purpose in their rural Chinese lives?
So after moving back to China, when I brought up with my husband the idea of having a Christmas tree, I had assumed it would lead to talk of taking the bus to the largest supermarket in the county, sure to have a corner dressed in tinsel, filled with everything from rosy-cheeked plastic Santas to artificial evergreens of all sizes covered in shiny baubles and twinkling lights.
Instead, hours later, my husband poked his head into the bedroom, to bring great news of a package he and his parents had pulled out of one of the storage rooms: my old Christmas tree.
You can read the full piece here — and if you like it, share it!
Wherever you are, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!