There’s a chill in the air. (Not an Idaho-chill, but still, it is cooling off enough to kill all but the hardiest of mosquitoes.) Last week my flight back from Shanghai had English Christmas carols blaring during boarding. (Not that Christmas carols are indicative of anything more than the desire to play foreign music, as I do hear them all year long in the supermarkets, but I particularly enjoyed the evening’s rousing rendition of “Frosty the Snowman.”) And the fruit stands are overflowing with mandarin oranges. (These things are the nectar of the gods and my favorite part of late fall in Chengdu!) All of this adds up to just one thing- the holiday season is upon us!
I’m a sucker for Christmas! I know all the complaints about it being overly commercialized and I understand those sentiments, but I also get frustrated when I hear them uttered by the same people who are plowing through the Black Friday crowds to get the last Play Station 4. (Although, I hear Black Friday is losing a bit of its appeal, as so many retailers are opening on Thanksgiving. That is sheer madness!! Go home, eat some turkey, read the ads in preparation for Friday and watch the Lions lose to Green Bay.) Christmas is what you and yours choose to make of it. If you want to go whole hog on the retail side of things, go for it. Have a prettily decorated tree with a pile of gifts underneath and stocking overflowing with sweets. If you want to focus on the service and selfless giving side of the holiday, make shoebox kits for the homeless, teach your children to love unconditionally and put an extra effort into making others happy. But, I don’t think one has to choose between these two distinct versions of the holiday.
For me, it takes great amounts of will power to hold off on the Christmas music and decorating until the day after Thanksgiving.
I totally didn’t make it this year!
It started with the Chengdu International Women’s Club holiday bazaar on Saturday and then quickly devolved into full-on holiday-ness on Sunday. The start of the weekend saw me manning the US Consulate booth at the bazaar, selling the Chinese silk stockings that the ladies of the consulate community had sewed over the course of the last three weeks. (It was a veritable sweatshop for charity!) After a bright, warm day that felt nothing like the white Christmases of my childhood (this is Chengdu, no sunshine, just brightness), but was filled with Santa and stockings and middle school band performances, the holiday was coursing through my blood. Still, I thought I could hold off for just ten more days. But no. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Love Actually, which I had been telling myself I’d watch the weekend after the turkey feast, but then we had a friend in town who had never seen it, so I just couldn’t put it off two more weeks. Into the DVD player it went!
Over the weekend, the holiday seal was broken and now I’m dying to jump in with both feet!
I’ve got boxes of decorations stashed away in my apartment’s one closet. My tree (fake, of course) is tucked away in a cardboard box on top of an armoire in the spare bedroom, just waiting for the acrobatic athleticism it is going to take to haul that thing down from eight feet up. And, my Christmas gifts are all in the mail. (I his “send” on the last Amazon order, headed to friends in DC, this morning.)
Now, all I need are the Christmas music CDs and candy canes from America that are set to arrive in Chengdu on Saturday night and a tad bit of patience to make it through two more weeks until I decorate both home and the office and let the festivities ensue!
Thumpity, thump, thump
Thumpity, thump, thump
Look at Christmas come!