Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

We are celebrating Christmas this year with family and friends in the US.  The weather still looks a bit iffy, but fingers crossed that we make it there in one piece! I anticipate there will be lots of cookies and carols and hopefully board games.  There may be snow and mistletoe as well. 🙂

This year has been a year of travel – trips to Cambodia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, the US, Greece, Dubai and within China.  It has also been a year of change – two different wedding ceremonies, a new job, much longer hair, lots of visitors and old and new friends.  In all – pretty great.

I’ll look back at my 2013 resolutions in another week, but for now – enjoy a couple of my favorite shots from the year.  All credit for these goes to my husband, Li.  One year down – a lifetime to go.

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Merry Christmas!

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Christmas in New York

22 Dec

Right after Thanksgiving I was in New York for a couple of days of meetings.  With my flight schedule I was lucky enough to have half a day free to wander the city before my meetings started in earnest.  I haven’t been in the US this time of year for seven years and was soaking up everything.

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The hotel was downtown – not far away from Grand Central Station so I started a mosey which led me from there to Bryant Park (made famous to me from Project Runway) and then to view the windows in Macy’s on 34th Street.  The weather was perfect – not too cold, with blue sky peeping out from behind the skyscrapers.

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The decorations, music, free ice skating and blue skies set me humming Christmas tunes the rest of the day.

Later that evening I met a friend for dinner up by Lincoln Center.  Coming up from the subway there was a group on the corner singing Hannukah carols in the twilight.  I gawked for a while and then hurried to the restaurant.

Only in New York.

I will be heading back Stateside to celebrate with family and friends during this happy time of year.  May you find peace and joy in the holiday season.

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New York is one place that is unique – a complete cultural mix and represents the US to so many people outside of it.  It is one place that is very special.  This post is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – One.  To see how others illustrate it, please click the link.

Thank you for your support and comments over the year.  Merry Christmas!

Weekly photo challenge – illumination

20 Jan
The entrance to the display

The entrance to the display

When we were back in the US for Christmas, we drove through the local light display.  Li had never seen that American tradition and the folks in my hometown really go all out.  It is held at the fair grounds in town which you can drive through at night and marvel at the lights and the Christmas music.  The night we went through it was snowing as well – really turning it into a fairy land.

Santa - the jolly old elf!

Santa – the jolly old elf!

The reindeer lead the way!

The reindeer lead the way!

I haven’t spent a Christmas in China since my very first Christmas when I was teaching English and had to work the day before and after.  I think going home to the twinkling lights hanging from the eaves and Christmas trees peeking through the windows is something that all of the stars hanging from the trees in Xintiandi can’t beat.  Now that I’m back in China and resettled into my routine looking at the lights helps stave off the January blahs.

Rocking cowboy

Rocking cowboy

This post is a response to last week’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Illumination.  If you’d like to see how others illuminated their blogs, please click the link provided.

What illuminates the winter for you?

Christmas at home

8 Jan

Christmas is a state of mind instead of a date and I’d like to extend that as long as possible.  Now that I’m back in China I’ve had a chance to pull together some photos that represent Christmas to me from our trip.

If you’d like to see any of the photos larger you can click on the images.

Ironically, in coming back to China the weather is helping keep me in that mood.  It actually snowed in Shanghai (albeit didn’t actually stick) and the weather has been practically frigid.  The snow which looked so beautiful in Michigan is not so fun during a walk home from work.

Stay warm wherever you are.

Enjoy the shots!

Sweet treats and Christmas wishes

20 Dec
Frosted wreaths?  Fa la la la la

Frosted wreaths? Fa la la la la

I was in the bread store by my house looking to buy some toast and happened to notice that they had gone all out for Christmas.  I snapped a photo because the bread was so cute.

Candy cane twists (or Santa's stick as the sign said)

Candy cane twists (or Santa’s stick as the sign said)

The best part however was that the women working in the shop were also wearing hats with attached sparkly reindeer antlers.  I didn’t have the guts to take a photo with them, but the hats certainly made me smile.

Can't forget we're in China!

Can’t forget I’m in China!

In the last week the Christmas decorations really have gone into overdrive.  Even my apartment complex has put up Santa cut-outs on the doors and there is a Christmas tree on the first floor by the mailboxes.  I got a massage and the dental clinic next door had a tree with a pile of wrapped presents under it.

One of the things that I really enjoy about China is that people aren’t so worried about being “politically correct.”  At McDonalds they wear Santa hats, at the bread store there are sparkly reindeer antlers.  People dress up in all kinds of costumes and outfits for work and don’t really worry too much about it.  That sense of fun appeals to me.

That said, I am very much looking forward to heading home for Christmas and celebrating with family and friends.  As such, I’ll be taking a break from the blog through the end of the year to focus on what is really important – sharing time with loved ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thank you for your support and I’ll see you in 2013!  I wonder what will happen next year?

Sparkles in Xintiandi

18 Dec

Another one of my favorite decorations during this holiday time in Shanghai is the white lights that surround Xintiandi park.  Each evening as I walk home from work I am surrounded by their twinkles.  The reflections on the water with the apartments behind make the walk home even more soothing than normal.

Xintiandi stars

We’ve had some cold weather (close to freezing), and it was even cold and clear for quite a while.  Those nights, if I looked closely I can just pick out a couple of real stars far above in the night sky.  With Christmas coming that has even more meaning.

Twinkle, twinkle little star…

What twinkles in your life?

It’s the holiday season

13 Dec

This year for some reason the Christmas decorations and music seem to be even more prevalent than in years past.  I’ve bopped to Jingle Bell Rock in the elevator going to see a client and heard Feliz Navidad while having lunch with a co-worker.

My local supermarket - do you believe it?

My local supermarket – do you believe it?

Lights and Santa Claus statues and all kinds of strange wrapped presents are on the street and I just got an email from Time Out Shanghai emphasizing the different Christmas markets this year – and markets is plural.  Starbucks has the Christmas drinks and even peppermint hot chocolate!

I showed this photo to a friend and she said that it looked like Kmart!

I showed this photo to a friend and she said that it looked like Kmart!

Visiting here, someone who doesn’t know about the culture of China would probably think that they actually celebrate Christmas here.

That is actually not true.

I hypothesize that if I stopped 10 people on the street and asked them what they think Christmas is and what it means I would get many different answers, but the probability of them being correct would be pretty low.  It is kind of like weddings in China – people do a lot of things that look like western weddings but don’t know what those things actually represent or the stories behind them.  I can get very cynical about this.

But, since I am going home for Christmas this year – instead I am enjoying the music and lights and decorations.  I am considering them my own personal holiday prep getting me ready for the real deal back in the States.  It’s the holiday season!

Happy Holiday!

The link above is to the song Happy Holiday by Andy Williams.  My first Christmas in China my roommate really loved this song and we probably listened to it 100s of times over the month of December.  It now has become a great memory and a true sign for me of Christmas.

Have you celebrated Christmas in a place where it is not traditionally celebrated?  What type of interesting traditions did you observe?

Christmas in May?

8 May

I was in a coffee shop waiting for a friend a week or so ago.  I hadn’t been before – it wasn’t a large chain, but had comfortable chairs, the ubiquitious free internet and tasty looking pastries.  I had purchased my beverage and just settled into a corner table.  Then I started listening to the music.

They were playing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

I have no idea how that song wound up on their mix tape.  It’s not even the correct time for Christmas in July.  Quite a random event for a Thursday morning.

When the song finished I listened to hear what would come up next.  The song after was some kind of rap mix.  I’m not sure if the random songs are enough reason to go back or avoid the shop in the future.  Even though Shanghai is steadily becoming more international the moments like this – that make me smile – seem to be happening more and more.

What do you think?

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