Merry Christmas from China!

Christmas Abroad

by Heather on 24 December, 2012

Christmas tree in Nanjing, China

Christmas tree in Nanjing, China

Decorating the Christmas tree. Stringing the light. Adding the tinsel and top star. Hanging the stockings. Baking Christmas cookies. Making a gingerbread house. Eating candy canes. Drinking egg nog and hot chocolate. Singing Christmas carols. Listening to Christmas songs. Watching Christmas movies. Spending time with family and friends. Giving presents.

I won’t be able to do most of those things this year. I’ve decorated a Christmas tree, drank some hot chocolate, listened to Christmas songs, watched Christmas movies, and bought some presents. But it doesn’t feel like Christmas because I’m about 10,000 miles away from my family and friends.

I’m spending my first Christmas abroad. I won’t be baking Christmas cookies with my friends, hoping for snow Christmas Eve, or waking up early to open presents on Christmas morning with my family. This is one of the many sacrifices you make when you’re living abroad: spending holidays away from your family and friends.

In an effort to make Christmas feel a little more Christmas-y, I’ve decided to write a picture entry with some of the things I’ve been doing to make Christmas abroad a little less difficult. So, here goes:

We started celebrating Christmas by dressing up as Santa Claus and a reindeer to give presents to young children.

Chris plays Santa Claus.

Chris plays Santa Claus.

This little boy wanted to sit on his lap.

This little boy wanted to sit on his lap.

She wanted to hug Santa Claus!

She wanted to hug Santa Claus!

She wanted to know where Santa's reindeer were. We explained they were on the roof.

She wanted to know where Santa’s reindeer were. We explained they were on the roof.

Santa Claus and his little elves.

Santa Claus and his little elves.

Santa Claus takes a break to pose!

Santa Claus takes a break to pose!

The children raced their parents to put on their red nose with no hands and run back to the starting point.

The children raced their parents to put on their red nose with no hands and run back to the starting point.

These little ones were making edible Christmas trees with ice cream cones, green frosting, and sprinkles.

These little ones were making edible Christmas trees with ice cream cones, green frosting, and sprinkles.

The older children were playing "Santa says". Santa says, "Pretend to be a reindeer."

The older children were playing “Santa says”. Santa says, “Pretend to be a reindeer.”

And then we attended a Christmas concert with a lot of singing, dancing, and random performances.

These students watch the Christmas show with excitement from the side of the stage.

These students watch the Christmas show with excitement from the side of the stage.

Traditional Chinese instruments

Traditional Chinese instruments

A performance in traditional Chinese clothing.

A performance in traditional Chinese clothing.

The students dance to Gangnam Style with Santa Claus.

The students dance to Gangnam Style with Santa Claus.

After passing out candy, Santa Claus posed for pictures.

After passing out candy, Santa Claus posed for pictures.

Now, you may be wondering how I’ll spend Christmas day in China. In an effort to feel a little less upset about spending Christmas abroad, I’ll be heading to Hainan (“China’s Hawaii”) to lay on the beach and bask in the warm weather for five days. I’d still rather be home with family and friends.

What do you think?
Have you ever spent Christmas abroad? How did you celebrate? How did you deal with being away from your family and friends?

 

Ryan December 28, 2012 at 1:39 am

Heather, this is so awesome. And so rad of Chris to play Santa. Even though I have a grudge with Santa for stealing my camera abroad (see recent post =P) I don’t think I can hold it against Chris. I’m sure this was a hugely different experience than usual, but looks fun!

Hope your Christmas was AWESOME!

Heather December 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

It was really neat that Chris played Santa TWICE! That sounds like a funny entry. I’ll have to read it. If it’s any consolation, I almost lost my camera and my cell phone (in two different places) within four hours the day after Christmas. Did you get any nsow in your part of Maryland? Some parts of Baltimore had light snowfall on Christmas Eve. Merry (late) Christmas!

Chris December 31, 2012 at 1:02 am

Proof that I need to go on a diet, really :-p

Heather December 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Since when does Santa go on a diet? There are too many cookies to be eaten!

Audrey | That Backpacker December 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Haha, I love that Gangnam Style somehow snuck its way into the festivities. Christmas in Korea didn’t really feel all that Christmassy this year, but maybe that’s because our school’s Santa didn’t have a white beard…

Heather December 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Haha! I saw three Christmas performances or parties with Gangnam Style in China: a mall performance, a college concert, and a preschool Christmas party. It’s difficult for Christmas to feel like Christmas when you’re not with family and friends. You should’ve gotten the fake snow to spray on your Santa’s beard! That’s what Chris did :)

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