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Huanying Santa! A Very Merry Beijing Christmas
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  • http://english.dbw.cn銆€銆€ 2009-12-11 16:11:26

    Christmas is just around the corner and many foreigners in Beijing are anxiously preparing for the long flight home in order to spend Christmas with their families. Still, there are many more that will spend yet another Beijing-style Christmas here with friends.

    For expatriates living in Beijing, perhaps it was employment ambition, curiosity, or even a crazy impulse that drove them to uproot their lives and move half way around the world to an unfamiliar place.

    Inescapably, living abroad is difficult around the holidays as many come to a sudden realization that the world at home does go on without them. Relatives do grow older every year, nieces and cousins get taller every visit, and babies are born.

    Unfortunately for many, flying across the globe is both too far and too expensive, so staying in Beijing is the only option.

    Therefore, for those only get to see their families once or twice a year, China gives December 25 a new meaning.

    For many Westerners, the idea of Christmas awakens childhood memories of a glowing Christmas tree with delicately strung twinkling lights, tinsel and ornaments hovering over brightly wrapped presents in crisp paper.

    Everywhere, children typically wake up at the crack of dawn to excitedly thrash their parents out of bed and rush downstairs to see what gifts Santa has left under the tree.

    We asked some Beijing expats what their family traditions at Christmas entail in their countries.

    "I usually have a big dinner at my dad's on Christmas Eve, then we go to midnight mass, go home, have a drink or two with the family around the Christmas tree, open presents, visit family," explains David Pimentel, an English textbook author.

    Olivier Jacques, remembers his Christmases in Quebec City's winter beauty.

    "I think it's one of the best cities," he says "because I always remember the nights that I would spend in Quebec City when it was dark and it was snowing a little bit and there are lights everywhere because they make it very special for Christmas."

    For Eugene Panchenko, a Vertu Mobile Phone customer service representative, the Russian Orthodox Calendar affects the timing of their holiday.

    "In Russia, we don't have Christmas in December, we celebrate it in January," he clarifies. 

    The build up and count down for Christmas for many children is usually marked by an advent calendar bearing candies or tiny ornaments for the tree. Some families designate specific evenings for decorating the tree or hanging holly and stockings by the fireplace.

    "My favorite part of Christmas was always making cookies with my family; this is what I liked the most," says Filis Jovesic, remembering her childhood in Germany. 

    In the eyes of a child, sometimes there is nothing better than collective effort of baking cookies to leave Santa on Christmas Eve, or smearing thick, white icing onto the delicate roof of a gingerbread house and tiling it with little colored gumdrops. 


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    Author锛? Andrea Hunt 銆€銆€銆€Source锛? 銆€銆€銆€ Editor锛? Wu Qiong
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