Thursday, December 24, 2009

On Wishing You A "Merry Christmas"

In recent days, my e-mail inbox has been filling up with holiday wishes from colleagues, students, and others who we encountered during our year of living in China. Invariably, these greetings involve an explicit "Merry Christmas!"

I mention this because it seems clear that I am having more "Merry Christmas" exchanges with my (presumably non-Christian) Chinese friends than with people from around here (many of whom I know are Christians).

I have to admit my feelings on this phenomenon run both ways. On the one hand, I really think it is a shame that "Merry Christmas" is receding as a wish at this time of year. On the other hand, the use of this greeting by most in China is solely a function of admiration for and imitation of all things Western.

It was almost a year ago that the four of us were sitting around a xiao fandian on Saoziying Dajie, trading "Merry Christmas" stories with a fellow American. All of us were griping about the rampant use of this religious sentiment by those who likely had no clue whatsoever that Christmas is actually a religious holiday. (Trust us...It can be very wearying over the span of an entire holiday season.)

What a difference a year makes. Today I'd love to walk down the street and be on the receiving of a random "Merry Christmas" salutation. At least I have those e-mails to tide me over...


PS: Can you guess in which of our capital city homes the accompanying photo was taken?


At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Ballas, Merry Christmas, from the Cerullos

At 1:26 PM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Right back at you guys!


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