Having Ourselves a Very Merry Chinese Christmas
Christmas in China is not a very big deal at all and if it wasn’t for daily updates from friends back home it would be entirely possible to forget it even December. Being on the South East coast too doesn’t allow for a very ‘Christmassey Vibe’ being that the temperature hasn’t dropped below ten degrees too often.
There are various shops who have made an effort to spread the word of our saviour Santa Claus and have adorned doors with decorations or are playing Christmas music, but really not much else has been done. York has had ornaments and tinsel dangling from the ceiling for a while however and even the school bell has been replaced with a few jingles which has lifted and suppressed morale equally. In fact I would go as far as saying that the schools have been one of the biggest supporters of Christmas in the city.
Something has been done back home whereby Christmas has now become a near two month event and by the time the actual day rallies round you more than likely want to throttle Santa than see what he has in his sack. The period of advent though has slowly come and gone without too much fanfare and the staff at the school have made an extra special effort to make it feel more and more like like home the closer it gets. That has been the difference to being back home and despite being in a country with a low Christian populous, the Christmas cheer came in abundance sooner or later.
For the students at school most of the children came along to a special event organised by the school on the 23rd of December as well as taking part in Christmas activities during normal lesson hours. Snowflakes, Christmas cards and presents were made. A large cardboard tree was also made by one of the teaching assistants each and these were painstakingly decorated by the children – some not resembling the example. Most importantly of all came the presents! They all received a small token gift from Santa halfway through. I am not sure how traditional York merchandise is, but they all thoroughly enjoyed it.
Other activities included pinning a red nose on Rudolf, making snowflakes (the personal favourite of mine), pass the parcel and singing to Christmas songs. All in all it was a good night for the kids, despite all the staff having to work a twelve hour day.
What Do Teachers Do?
For the teachers parcels came from across the world in their droves, “secret” Santa’ was cast, classrooms were decorated and parties were organised – some, probably a bit longer and dizzier than they should have been. For the day itself when it arrived we all went along to a not so local hotel and tucked in to as much Western food as we could muster. For many of us this was seen as a chance to feast upon things that we haven’t enjoyed for months and won’t again for a very long time. It was twice as epic given that everyone was in the Christmas swing of thing – Irish coffees are much needed at 11.30am! It was a marvellous start to a rather different Christmas.
Spending Christmas away from home wasn’t normal for a lot of us and one striking difference was the necessity to not stay at home the entire time. Many people went around the city enjoying the more relaxing scenery and hot springs or massage parlours were quite popular among others. The only snag was having to work on Boxing Day the following day.
All in all it was a very Merry Chinese Christmas.