Waking up early and rushing to witness a half-eaten plate of sugar cookies and milk sitting next to a lush Christmas tree surrounded by gifts is a simple aspect of the Christmas tradition that is easier said than experienced in Beijing. While our kids may be off from school, this isn’t always possible for us working folk, as we need to wake up early and rush to the workplace to avoid Beijing traffic instead of cozying up for the entire day with a warm cup of eggnog… or two.
We are often placed in a difficult situation of trying to replicate our significant holidays to become exactly as they were in our mother country. Whatever faith you keep in your family, it’s celebrating these traditions that ultimately keeps us grounded in this foreign land. So it is important to keep on trying to maintain these celebrations despite the obvious difficulties.
That’s not to say you can’t deviate from the norm a bit to make things a little more unique to your situation. So let’s not be afraid to make this year different. Grab a Peking duck in lieu of your Christmas goose (roasted duck is more delicious anyway), and don’t even think about planting yourself in front of your TV for hours watching A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, or those goofy 60s Christmas claymation cartoons on repeat. Develop new traditions that are unique to your China experience, or invite some Chinese friends to experience the warmth and familial joy of this event, because it’s just more fun with more people.
For our December cover feature we dive into how Christmas has been working its way into China’s cultural fabric, whether it be through the outlandish decor and Muzak being blasted in every convenience store and mall throughout the country or the history of that jolly fat man who China at one time tried to replace with Chinese Fortune Grandpa. Sounds silly but Santa Claus has had a fascinating, albeit difficult journey on his road to acceptance in the Middle Kingdom.
Also, Chef Pauline explores some amazingly easy side dishes you can prepare with everyday ingredients found at the ubiquitous supermarket Jingkelong, which will make your sizable holiday spread more attainable.
In this issue, you will find plenty of useful information explaining how and why Beijing can be a comfortable place to spend the holiday season. Whether it be celebrating a couple of days early by journeying out on the weekend to the countryside for a glamorous staycation at one of the many resorts that exist near or in Beijing, or going to one of the many holiday markets, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.
Photo: Dave’s Studio
This article appeared on p5 of beijingkids December 2017 issue.