Everyone knows there is no Christmas in China, but walking around my neighbourhood would give everyone and anyone a completely different impression. Here, for example, is a street just round the corner:
This isn’t some freak anomaly either. The city is currently more heavily decorated than, for example, England – or at least the parts of it I’ve lived in. I was hoping for an escape from Christmas music this year, but this too seems to have been imported wholesale, and is even more chirpy and cloying.
Behind the facade, though, is a great big nothing. No Chinese person I’ve spoken to is doing anything special today, not even the couple of Christian Chinese I know. It isn’t even a day off, just a normal Monday. I’ve just taught an adult class this afternoon and other teachers have to work all evening.
Last night I joined all the other “ghost people” (foreigners) for a fairly decent party. We all brought a present and played “Yankee Swap”. I ended up with some chocolate, which is fair enough as non edible presents are not suitable for transit across Siberia. After that the Americans and Australians “shared Christmas stories” and the Englishers kept quiet and puzzled. It was a lot of fun. Tried proper made-from-a-packet eggnog too. It was fairly nice but a bit lumpy. I’d always imagined it was the same as advocaat, but it wasn’t at all.
After I post this I’m going to skype the parents, then go off for proper Christmas eating and drinking with the other ghosts.