Christmas Confusion

Besides the obvious lack of understanding due to cultural differences, is there some level of Christmas/New Year confusion here in China? Or is it just my school?


In the early days of December, a meeting was held at the school where I do the lion’s share of my teaching between the school leaders, myself and the schools full time English teacher. We discussed the manner in which Christmas would be celebrated, just Christmas exclusively (every other holiday is completely unknown, at least at this school). The English teacher and I discussed buying decorations, Christmas trees, tinsel and all the rest of the swag. She proposed teaching Santa lessons and I proposed implementing The Grinch into my lessons.
The school was completely mystified as to why we would want to do trees, Santa and the rest and swiftly denied our purchasing requests and officially withheld their support for our Christmas lesson plans for the kids. After some prodding in the end they supplied us with a few supplies, some pipe cleaners, crayons and cardboard and told us to make whatever knickknacks we needed for our Christmas whatever.

Well we figured that this meant the holidays would just pass by un-noticed so we basically resigned ourselves to teaching as normal.

However! This was not the case! Sure Christmas came and went, but then New Years arrived and suddenly SANTA APPEARED!

There was Santa decorations everywhere! Tinsel, tree’s and presents galore. There was an enormous celebration that included everything we’d wanted and more. The kids had even made Santas and snowmen to wish us a happy new year. Turns out that in my little bubble of China they have taken the Western way of celebrating Christmas and through some way of miscommunication or misunderstanding have given the whole thing to New Years. Is it my duty to correct their mistake? Or just partake in the festivities? For anyone else who had a foreign holiday season let me know, how did yours go?

As the token foreigner in my office, is my job to tap someone politely on the shoulder and provide my 2 cents? Or should I smile awkwardly and sip my New Years eggnog. I opted for the second one.




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