The Christmas Grouch

I woke up a real Christmas grouch.

I know how you feel!

From having to work at 8:30 a.m. to misplacing my itouch and prickling my finger fumbling through my bag in search of it (don’t worry, I found it), to doing a mad-Christmas-gift-dash in the busiest part of the city, to coming home to an empty house, you might understand why I was not feeling the spirit.

Christmas Crowd

Yesterday was more eventful. To start the day off pleasantly, I received a package all the way from Boston from my friend Grace, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more awesome.


I requested that if my friends ever send me anything in the mail, it be themselves. So, thoughtful as Grace is, she sent me a mini-cardboard cutout of herself (to the right of the cookies) on top of the best box of cookies ever, a life-size Santa hat and a children’s book which I’ve already read twice to my students (Grace and I have a tradition of giving each other children’s books as gifts–I think that’s pretty cool). It’s hard to beat those gifts, especially when my students came over later with gift-wrapped fruits and a can of cola. I was so confused.

Rather than calling Christmas Eve “Christmas Eve,” the Chinese refer to it as Silent Night, or literally translated from Chinese, Peace Night (pinganye, 平安夜). The tradition–I now understand–is to give apples (pingguo, 苹果) to wish someone peacefulness. I also got an orange (juzi, 橘子) to symbolize good fortune and a can of Pepsi (kele, 可乐) to symbolize happiness. Clever, but also a waste of plastic–oh negative Nancy, it’s the thought that counts!

As for Christmas Day, my spirits were eventually lifted when my aunt and uncle arrived from Kunming, and we rushed off to catch my cousin perform in a typical Chinese “gala”–the kind of event you see on any Chinese TV channel–which consists of food, drinks and live performances. We ended the night eating hot pot, not exactly Christmasy, but it was shared with family. If I recall correctly, this is the first Christmas since junior year of high school that I’ve spent with my parents because they were always either working or were already in China. Growing up, I mostly celebrated Christmas with family friends, which–while I consider them family too–was always still a bit lonely.

Well, Christmas flew by this year; it came and went. But this is just the beginning of the holiday season! I expect Chinese New Years to be explosively festive (lots of fireworks involved I hear)!

Any-Cindy-Lou-Who, it’s time for bed. Stuffed to the brim, it’s going to be hard to fall asleep tonight…

To end another Christmas, I leave you with a classic. Wham!

Merry Christmas (to those who celebrate)! Happy Holidays!

12 Comments on “The Christmas Grouch”

  1. mooselicker says:

    So weird to think that your Christmas is over and I’ve only been awake for a little over an hour haha. Then there are people in Hawaii. It’s like 5 in the morning there I think?

    I’m glad your Christmas didn’t turn out as bad as your mood was when you first woke up. It’s also good that you got to spend it with the family, the way you wanted it 🙂

    • Emily He says:

      Thanks Moose/Tim!

      That is weird…gosh, I’m about to go to bed but my stomach is seriously hurting from overfeasting. By the time I wake up for work again, you’ll be having your Christmas dinner! Funny how time works…

  2. Colette says:

    Merry Merry Mei Mei!

  3. My first Christmas in China involved having to listen to that Wham song over 100 times to learn the rhythm and remember the words to perform at our schools Christmas Show, you can see us singing it here:
    And my second Christmas I treated my junior school kids to watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” a great idea at the time but after watching it for the 18th time not so much, could almost recite it word for word – “little cindy lou who who was only two”
    Merry Christmas!

    • Emily He says:

      Hahaha, what a colorful post! Your show looked like a lot of fun. My cousin’s performance wasn’t quite like that because the audience consisted of boring adults who were busy eating drinking. Hope you had just as eventful Christmas this year!!!!

      • Alan says:

        Hi Emily, and Happy Christmas to you my dear!
        It don’t matter if you felt like the Grouch, its only Christmas !
        I’ve had way too much red wine and get this, I got socks as a present! Result! And Ive had way too much marmalade vodka………..
        I will explain another time……
        I look forward to more of your adventures in 2012, even though we ain’t there yet!
        Alan x

      • Emily He says:

        Marmalade Vodka?! Sounds fancy. And red wine! Sounds like you had a smashing Christmas!

        Socks aren’t so bad. It could be worse, like a box of underwear (which I got for Christmas when I was little). I can’t wait to hear all about your Christmas, and TURKEY!

  4. heheh Christmas in China is something to “must-experience”! Last year we had exams on the 26th December, so you can imagine haha but still, it’s such a unique experience, definitely worth it. and i absolutely love the first picture you posted there, it makes me laugh so much!

    • Emily He says:

      oy, exams! Haven’t had one of those in a long time! and haha, that santa definitely did not look happy after I took that photo! Glad you enjoyed it though! I’ll be sure to tell him the photo was worth taking.

  5. That is the grouchiest looking Santa I have ever seen.
    And Wham! was a good choice. My brother and I have this thing of looking for cheesy Christmas song because the traditional can oftentimes be bland. This is one we commonly listen to. and this year we found out that Star Wars has a Christmas album.
    I went shopping for the first time in my 33 years the day before Christmas. It was busier than I thought it would be. I normally start early, so it is done, but this year I wasn’t in much of a Christmasy mood. I was glad when it was over.

    • Emily He says:

      I would be a grouchy santa too if I had to stand in the cold wearing a silly Santa costume having people (like me) take pictures of me like I’m some kind of statue. haha.

      Oo shopping right before Christmas? Not good at any age. I’m sorry you weren’t feeling Christmasy this year, but there’s always next year! and the next! Happy New Year!

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