‘Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling’ – Edna Ferber.
I am fortunate enough to be returning home for two weeks in mid-December so will not be experiencing a proper Chinese Christmas. However in the few weeks building up to the big day, I am seeing and experiencing enough to see what the Chinese do for such a holiday. Not a lot. There are no Christmas songs playing and decorations are minimal. The Chinese continue with their day-to-day lives with no upcoming national holidays – they do not actually have Christmas Day off work – and no crazy shopping sprees. Whilst I have always thought we often take Christmas too far in terms of how early preparation begins and the expense, being here has made me realise how much I enjoy this winter holiday. I miss the hype we have created around it. To make up for the lack of Christmas in our current country , Josh and I have taken to decorating the flat and singing Christmas songs on a daily basis. I am particularly enjoying introducing Christmas to my classroom. As it is an international kindergarten, they embrace the western holidays so last week the decorations came out of hiding, turning our campus into a Santa’s grotto. I helped the children decorate our class tree and created a snowman for our display board. I regularly prepare Christmas craft activities to ensure the children are able to decorate the classroom with their own art work – I am sure I am enjoying the build up more than they are. Chinese New Year holds more significance to them. The religious element of Christmas is lost here and not something we even introduce to the children – it becomes complicated as religion in China is fairly minimal in terms of a ‘god’, they pray to their ancrestors. The combination of my own Christmas shopping, a decorated flat and a classroom Christmas party planned just before I fly home means I am still able to receive my Christmas kicks and can fully enter into the Christmas spirit. I cannot wait to return home and enter the holiday season properly with my family, friends and too much food!