Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Time has reached Shanghai!

“Christmas time is here…happiness and cheer…

It’s that time of year yet again…Christmas time! I will be celebrating Christmas abroad for the third time (This will also be my third different country).  Just like Halloween (you can read about that here), Shanghai has surprised me yet again with the amount of holiday cheer typically reserved for this time of year (hey, I had to rhyme).  With only ten days to go, many stores both local and multinational have some type of Christmas decorations on their windows or door fronts, and I’m hearing all types of Christmas music throughout the shopping mall that I work in and in various stores around Shanghai.  I was pleased to learn about two different Euro-style Christmas markets that have recently opened in Shanghai ( I will be visiting one next week during my off day) which sell a variety of gifts and food goods from their stalls.  Not to mention, all the trees, lights and ornaments that I see all around the city.  The other day on the metro, I noticed not one, but two different Chinese people lugging plastic Christmas trees and decorations (one of them even had several rolls of wrapping paper).  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, but I'm hoping there's more to see in the upcoming days.

When I saw this my heart skipped a beat!

One of the Christmas Markets

 I started to notice Christmas themed things in mid-November when my local Ikea had some Christmas food items prominently displayed in their food section (They were selling a festive punch, gingerbread cookies and mulled wine).  Several days later, I saw a Christmas shop open its doors not too far from my apartment. Unfortunately, it’s nothing to write home about since the only Christmas type things I saw for sale were ornaments and stockings. The rest were just tacky Knickknacks in gaudy metallic colors. I also noticed that the store had many Eiffel Towers for sale (beats me what they have to do with Christmas).

Seen outside an expat grocery store. This house is real Gingerbread!

Earlier in December, I attended a Caribbean-Expat Christmas party that was located way outside central Shanghai. Despite the trek, the party was definitely a good time! There was a delicious buffet filled with Caribbean foods with a Chinese twist (jerk tofu or fried plantain tarts anyone?), followed by rum punch and loads of dancing. The DJ played all the old-school dance hall jams I grew up and I sang and danced the night away (I abstained from the dutty whine contest).  

"Caribbean Claus"
People from not just the Caribbean, but around the world!

After the first week of December, my school was fully decked out in holiday decorations including two different Christmas trees. Advertisements were placed in each and every classroom for a Christmas party that promises many games, gifts and a visit from Santa.  Outside the shopping mall that I work in, I saw some men hard at work putting up the sign below, as well as, making sure the reindeer were in the correct spots and well lit for all to see.  

One of two trees in my teaching center

Outside my workplace, trust me it's huge!
Prizes to be won at the X-Mas Party!

So, how will I be spending the holiday? As of right now, I will be celebrating with friends British style (as well as American and French) by cooking a meal and partaking in a “Secret Santa.” Perhaps we will venture out since many of the bars will remain open (after all, it’s a non-Chinese holiday).  Regardless of what my plans are, I will eat, drink and be merry (with a Skype call or two in-between).

Thanks again for reading and I hope you have a safe and happy holidays!

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