Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Focus on Christmas Past and Present

When we first moved to China 14 years ago, we had difficulty finding Christmas decorations to help make the season bright.  In fact the only place in town which carried any festive items was a Japanese department store strategically located beside the Holiday Inn (the only foreign chain hotel at the time). I managed to find two stockings and some wooden ornaments there, bears playing musical instruments; but passed on the expensive artificial trees.  My husband finagled a cedar tree from a nursery that grew plants for parks and roadsides, and we were set.
 Standing in front of the nativity scene we made in their usual dress-up attire.

 Second son playing at Santa on his sleigh.

 Singing Christmas songs.... If you know anything about our boys you will smile, as the one on the left still loves to sing and the one on the right loves to create music.

 Under our "Charlie Brown" cedar Christmas tree.

Things have changed since then.  While Christmas is still not a nationally recognized holiday in China, people have adopted some of the trappings of the season.  They know about Santa, Christmas trees, and presents; but very few know that Christmas has anything to do with the birth of Jesus or who Jesus is at all.  While chatting with my tutor yesterday, she said Christmas has become somewhat of a shopping event.  And that it most especially resembles Valentine's Day with young couples going out to buy gifts for each other.

I don't miss the pressure or stress that can accompany the holiday season in the states; but I do miss the music, decorated homes, greenery, candles, smells, the warmth of Christmas greetings, and the remembrance of the Christmas story.  It's a shame for China to receive all that is commercial in Christmas and none of the miracle and love.

In this modern, globally connected world if you were introducing Christmas into a culture, what would your focus be? Or would you do it at all?

Wishing you all that is Joyful and Meaningful in this season!

I am linking to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  You will find many wonderful Letter "F" posts here.



  1. What beautiful memories Kate! To introduce Christmas I would invite friends to experience Christmas dinner, share the story of Jesus's birth, exchange a small gift of gratitude. Sing Christmas carols with your boys!!!!

  2. CHRISTmas is the reason for the season. If I lived outside the US, in a country, where Christmas was sheerly seen through secular eyes then I would not only represent the festive lights and tree of the holiday, but the true reason behind why I celebrate the season - Jesus' birth. For God so loved the world, He sent His Only begotten son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life - the greatest Christmas gift to all of mankind.

  3. Christmas seems to be a gift giving event only for folks in the states too. It starts earlier and earlier each year. Christmas carols are one holiday tradition that I think is perfect. It lets people with all different levels of belief participate in the same thing {:-Deb

  4. My parents had the same trouble finding a Christmas tree, but not in China, here in Europe in Belgium !! Until end 80th it was hard to find Christmad decoration and everything what goes with it. We had to drive to Germany (only 120 km) to buy our stuff. Since then you find everything here too !

  5. Beautiful photos. Delightful series of portraits, very sweet and fun. Greetings.

  6. My focus would have to be on Christ if I were introducing Christmas. And it would be a pleasure to share the story of his birth, life, and death...and what they mean to all of us.


  7. Wonderful walk thru time. I'd want to introduce them to the BEST of Christmas, the story of Christ, the kind loving caring acts people do for one another, the gathering of family and friends...and leave all the rest behind. No shopping. No expensive gift exchanges...the only gifts would be the ones we give of ourselves. Yea. That's what I'd do.

  8. An interesting question to consider, Steph. I think I would invite reading the Christmas story from Luke, and the tradition of gift giving as a reflection of the gifts of the Magi.

    May you have a blessed Christmas, filled with gifts from the heart :-)


  9. We have found a Romanian radio station that is playing carols around the clock all month. I am so thrilled! For me, it's not Christmas unless I hear Wham's "Last Christmas." =>

  10. A truly lovely post, Kate. It is one worth passing on.

  11. great pictures and a wonderful post If I were to introduce Christmas I would tell them its a celebration of Jesus' birth and explain who he is and why he is important

  12. First of all, so glad you stop by, and happy to see you back!

    Secondly, I love this post since you've pointed out the important aspect of Christmas. These last several years, I agree that Christmas is just an event for people to shop and business to make money!

    Thanks for visiting, and have a great Holidays!

  13. It seems to me you have a wonderful opportunity to make Christmas exactly what you want it to be. I could do without a lot of the commercialism, but do admit to enjoying filling a stocking or two : )

  14. Those seem like such Fond memories, Charlie Brown Christmas tree and all. . .

    Wishing you a Fun and Fabulous 2012!



Thank you for your comments. They help me feel that I am some how connected out here in Blogland and not just writing to the air.


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