Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Around the World for Christmas – Lost in Translation

While traditional celebrations surround the birth of Jesus Christ as the reason for the season throughout the western civilization, the population of citizens who call themselves Christian in the People’s Republic of China only amount to 1-percent of the total population of the country. It is strictly forbidden for the Christians to worship in China, but they are tolerated to a degree. These one-percenters gather quietly in their homes to worship the reason that most of the rest of the world celebrates the holiday, while the other 99-percent of the population treat the holiday as if it were Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. An excuse to get together, go ice skating, go to the movies or have friends over for dinner.

The Chinese are so commercialized that they have over-commercialized the celebration in their own country. While it is not a national holiday, and it is frowned upon and shunned in many sectors, those who embrace the holiday decorate and light up everything in their reach. They are not unlike a town full of Griswolds that make the neighbors cringe, but yet excite them enough to peek through closed drapes at the festive lights and ornaments. All the businesses and government offices are open on Christmas Day.

There are laws against caroling and heralding the Christ child, but there are no laws against shopping, and the Chinese treat Christmas Eve as the biggest shopping day of the year. Little children wait for Dun Che Lao Ren (Santa) to bring them presents while they sleep, and the malls are filled with Santa and his helpers. The helper thing got a little lost in the translation, however. The elves (known as sisters) turned into young ladies dressed in red leotards with a green spiked collar. Santa apparently likes jazz music Chinese-style because it is not uncommon to see Santa depicted playing a sax or a trumpet, although the origin of this particular custom is unknown.

Chinese Santa in red satin brocade jacket and
hat with dark rust trousers and 'gold' slippers

Dun Che Lao Ren is the equivalent of Santa in the Chinese culture. His name means Christmas Old Man, and he is known to fill the muslin stockings of little children with toys and goodies.

Christmas in China is known as Spring Festival, which celebrates the children and the ancestors of the Chinese. There are gifts of clothing and many festive meals served and eaten. Because most of the country is not Christian, the celebration is more of a festival for all rather than the celebration of Jesus.

The Chinese government has embraced the act of Christmas by saying that the West could not celebrate Christmas if it were not for the importing of all those boxed Christmas ornaments and lights, and that the West should be grateful for the influx of the most generous gifts of the Chinese Santa.

It is very well-known how the Chinese have persecuted and eliminated the Christian population in their nation. This has eased up as the boundaries between the East and the West have been lessened, but there are plenty of places that Christians are still persecuted in China, so open celebration in the traditional sense is very limited. The celebration of Christmas has many traditionalists warning about the westernization of their culture. They should be concerned, because it is hard to isolate a country and its people in today’s world of the Internet and news programs. Christmas Mass in the Catholic churches are becoming more popular as time goes by.

Wrapped traditional Christmas Apples for sale

Christmas apples are a tradition in China. The apples are gaily decorated and they came to be due to a strange translation from the words Christmas Eve into Mandarin. Apparently, it sounds like their word for apple, and in their enthusiasm to participate, they wrap apples.

The Chinese also do not adhere to the traditional removing of the decorations after the new year, so it is not uncommon to see the lights still up in time for the traditional Valentine’s Day.

It may be a quiet celebration for the Christians, but the rest of the Chinese do everything big and loud when they celebrate, so it is not a surprise that there are lights, parades, dragons, festivals, fireworks and noisemakers that come right along with the crowds of revelers. After all, if it were not for the Chinese, we would not have fun things like fireworks and paper.

Here are some very colorful gift ideas that are sure to have fireworks exploding and people celebrating:

Tropical Bird of Paradise, 11 x 15 watercolor print Flower, Home Decor, plant, Decorative art,


Artisan Floral Enamel Earrings, Raspberry Lampwork Jewelry

Victorian Style Treasures

Colorful Skull Safety Pin Necklace Statement, Day of the Dead Jewelry


Daisy Flower Earrings, Aqua Pink Purple Lightweight Handmade Jewelry

Shadow Dog Designs

Knitted Scarf Autumn Color Viscose Chenille Hand Dyed Yarn


Beaded Pendant Necklace - Gemstone Jewelry for Autumn


Aztec Ethnic Double Cord BOHO Ladybug Charm Burgundy Artisan Bracelet

Kats All That

Yellow And Green Earrings, Multicolored, 14k Gold Filled Lever Backs, One Of A Kind, With Gift Box

The Singing Beader

Set of 6 15mm Handmade Polymer Clay Beads Black, Green Jewelry Supplies

Blue Morning Expressions

Since we can thank the Chinese for things like fireworks, paper, tea, hot air balloons, embroidery, money, brandy, the wheelbarrow, cast iron, the compass, movable type, guns, porcelain, kites, matches, helicopter rotors, odometer, umbrellas, paddle wheels and operas, we can also thank them for the opportunity to see how they do things in their country as we move on to our next destination. Drink a cup of herbal tea, which they also invented, and let’s all get back into the sleigh.

Looking for something different?
Here are more links to additional beautiful, handmade gifts.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Week 4



Quick, everyone back in the sleigh.

We have a lot more stops to make on our journey around the world for Christmas, and I would not want you to miss the trip.

Julie and Harry