Christmas In Different Land: Christmas Spirit In China

Do you celebrate Christmas? How do you celebrate it? I’ve written earlier that we don’t really celebrate Christmas but we love Christmas Gawking! As ESL teachers, we do of course teach our children about Christmas and make Christmas activities. Last year we made Hand-printed Christmas Tree, and this year – Christmas Lanterns.

In China Christmas is not an official holiday but you feel the spirit as everything gets decorated and starts sparkling, spiced by Christmas carols, from around the beginning of November!

Supermarkets are filled with Christmas decorations: trees, ornaments, small Santa dolls, Snowmen, Santa hats, tinsel and more!

In schools Christmas is only celebrated in kindergarten levels. And in some primary schools, early grades. After that children simply have no time for any festivities!

In my post I want to “walk” you through how everything looks here during months of November – December. From January things start getting ready for Chinese New Year, so shortly after New Year’s holidays all of these get taken down.

Most of these pictures are taken in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, where we live, and some – in Macao, which is just next door.

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Christmas trees around here are gorgeous! And people go out of their to decorate and create a festive atmosphere!

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If Christmas is celebrated by some families, it is usually associated with dinner out with friends, Santa and presents, games and tons of fun! This particular party was organized by us, a bunch of parents, to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

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Our daughter for ones loves posing in front of all the beautiful decorations! These are some dear memories to keep for years to come!

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Most of kindergartens would have their morning exercise associated with Christmas. Like here, children wear Santa hats and dance along the Christmas carols! It is so much fun!

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Ah, this is such a sweet memory. At some point in 2011 I taught English at a Charity Federation. They organized a lovely Christmas party for the children from low income and single-parent families, with snack and children showing off their talents. And boy, they ARE talented! Their voices, abilities to play various instruments. It was probably the best Christmas party ever!

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These are just some decorations around Zhuhai and Macao. In Macao Christmas is an official holiday and schools go on Christmas vacation for 2 weeks. Macao used to be a Portuguese colony and after rejoining China, they were allowed to keep their life pace and holidays. China looks no less festive even though there is no official holiday nor vacation.

Jian Cai December 2009

And these are decorations from a kindergarten where my husband used to work at. Chinese teachers spend hours decorating and beautifying the classrooms. It just makes children happy to see all these beautiful ornaments and trees!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of seeing what Christmas Spirit does in China. Leave a comment on how you celebrate – I’d love to know!

 

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Stop by these other blogs who participate in Christmas in Different Land organized by members of Multicultural Kid Blogs!

December 1 – Multicultural Kid Blogs, Introduction

December 2 –  Mama Smiles, USA

December 3 –  Afterschool for Smarty Pants, Russia

December 4 – Laugh and Learn, Ukraine

December 5 – Expat Life with a Double Buggy, Netherlands

December 6 – Glittering Muffins, Germany

December 7 – Inspired By Familia Magazine, Latin America

December 8-  Kid World Citizen, Mexico

December 9 – Kid Yoga Stories, Australia

December 10 – Desu Mama, Cuba

December 11 – La Famille Brown, UK

December 12 – All Done Monkey, Costa Rica

December 13 – Creative World of Varya, China

December 14  –  Busy as a Bee in Paris, France

December 15 – Spanglish House, Bolivia

December 16 –  Glittering Muffins, Quebec, Canada

December 17 –  Dad’s the way I like it, UK and Ireland

December 18  – Head Of The Heard, Brazil

December 19 –  Mama Smiles, Sweden

December 20 – Multilingual Parenting, Finland

December 21 – Open Wide The World, Phillipines

December 22 – European Mama for Kid World Citizen, Poland

December 23 – Crafty Moms Share, Jamaica

December 24 – Multicultural Kid Blogs, Conclusion

Child-Made Christmas Lanterns

I am happy to participate in and be one of the first to post for 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas Ornaments Project, hosted by some of the amazing bloggers from KBN (Kid Blogger Network).

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Living in China where Christmas has become a big deal (while not being an official holiday) and being an ESL teacher, over the past 20 years I’ve taught and made tons of Christmas crafts. I usually try to find something easy and fun for children to make. So, today I am introducing a Christmas Lantern to you! (This lantern is a great decoration for Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival too!)

lantern

What you will need:

2 paper cups

Double-sided tape

Crafting ribbon

Crepe paper

Paint (for finger prints decoration)

How to make it:

1. Put to cups together and secure them with a double-sided tape.

2. Take the paper off the tape and stick the ribbon over it.

3. Using pieces of double-sided tape and a smaller piece of ribbon, make a handle that the lantern will hang on.

4. Apply another round of double sided take on the bottom of the lantern. Tear crepe paper into strips. Take the paper off the double-sided tape and stick the strips of crepe paper over so that they hang down.lantern1

5. Using paint, have children decorate the lanterns with finger prints. This is probably the most fun they get while making this lantern!

6. Dry and decorate the tree or your house with the lanterns (be careful though to keep them away from Christmas lights!)

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 What are your favorite Christmas ornaments? Do you prefer making them or buying?

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Would you like to join in on the fun too?!

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the landing page here, for this series that Melissa at Mama Miss is hosting.
  2. Just link a KID-MADE ornament you’ve created with your kiddos (limited to 2 a day).
  3. Add this pretty little ornament shaped button below to your blog post, or your sidebar, or somewhere on your beautiful blog letting me know you are joining in on the fun too!!
  4. Label the ornament button: 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments
  5. Link the ornament button to: the landing page for this series.

 

20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments

 

The link up will be open from December 1st until December 21st for all entries.

Make sure to pop by these other fabulous bloggers too, that are participating in this series…

December 1st

Mama Miss

Here Come the Girls

Creative World of Varya

December 2nd

Housing A Forest

NurtureStore

December 3rd

Twodaloo

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

Play Trains!

December 4th

Mama Smiles

One Perfect Day

December 5th

Feels Like Home

How Wee Learn

December 6th

My Little 3 and Me

The House of Hendrix

Teach Beside Me

December 7th

The Connection We Share

Scribble Doodle and Draw

FSPDT

December 8th

The Library Adventure

Something 2 Offer

Learn with Play at Home

December 9th

The Pleasantest Thing

Tutus & Tea Parties

Edventures with Kids

December 10th

Nothing if Not Intentional

Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Me & Marie Learning

December 11th

Glittering Muffins

Child Central Station

Happiness is Homemade

December 12th

eLeMeNO-P Kids

Coffee Cups and Crayons

Living Montessori Now

December 13th

Teach me Mommy

Mum in The Mad House

The Craft Train

December 14th

Mama.Papa.Bubba.

MeMeTales

Imprints From Tricia

December 15th

True Aim Education

Sugar Aunts

The Life of Jennifer Dawn

December 16th

Powerful Mothering

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

The Eyes of a Boy

December 17th

Teach Preschool

Plain Vanilla Mom

Lalymom

December 18th

P is for Preschooler

Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes

Busy Kids = Happy Mom

December 19th

Mama Miss

Glittering Muffins

December 20th

Tips From a Typical Mom

Rockabye Butterfly

Kids Co-Op and DIY Cards

Last year, we created some wonderful cards to give to friends for Nawruz – Baha’i New Year. I have never described the process so I decided with the 2 upcoming Baha’i HolidaysBirthdays of The Bab and Baha’u’llah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year. This would be a nice personalized way of greeting people.

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The process is very very simple – we use finger painting here, choose the pattern and then let our imagination flow.

Continue reading »

DIY Hand print Christmas Tree

This is one of the most popular Christmas Crafts. First time I saw it on Enchanted Learning Website . I won’t be posting any tutorial for you here as you can just follow the link and improvise yourself. Since then I’ve seen it on various blogs and sites – moms and educators have made it in different shapes, with finger paint, from crepe paper, construction paper, from fleece and other types of fabric. I’ve even seen this Hand print Christmas Tree Skirt from Passionate Penny Pincher.

I always wondered whoever came up with it first. Any ideas?

We don’t celebrate Christmas, as I mentioned in another post. But Christmas crafts are actually really fun and they are a great way to encourage creativity, create an opportunity for messy play and develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Here is a tree my 4 year old made. I helped her trace and cut out the prints:

And here are the trees moms and children in my daycare made. They decorated them with stickers!

Winter Traditions: Christmas Gawking

Yes, we are a bunch of gawkers! We like going around the malls and looking at Christmas decorations. We don’t celebrate Christmas and New Year in our family – it is a choice we gladly made, emphasising our Baha’i holidays (Ayyam-i-Ha and Nawruz). We do participate in the festivities if our friends invite us or when it is celebrate at our work place.

Both my husband and I grew up without any emphasis made on Christmas (especially what is called “Catholic” Christmas which is celebrated in December). For me, New Year was more important when I was growing up and it was and probably is the biggest event in Russia.

As our daughters are growing up, we teach them about various Winter holidays, including Christmas, Gregorian New Year and Chinese (Lunar) New Year. But the biggest emphasis is made on Ayyam-i-Ha which is celebrated for 4 days (5 days during leap years) and it is a great time for gift giving/receiving, cooking, hosting and visiting friends.

But back to us being gawkers. Christmas time in China is magical. Even though it is not an official holiday but it is a great commercial event and everything gets decorated. So we go around, look at all the beautiful decorations and various Christmas trees.

Here are a few pictures I want to share with you from both Zhuhai and Macao!