Today I asked my students how their Christmas was. Some said it was fine. They went to church and some did a musical at their church (which I heard was common). Some said it was like any other day. And some said their Christmas was bad because they had to go to church and couldn’t play haha.
What surprised me though was to hear that most of students did not get Christmas presents. Last week and the week before, I had been asking them if they were excited about Christmas and of course I thought just mentioning Christmas gifts gets kids excited. Even then though, I would be met by wide-eyed stares as if they didn’t quite understand the fun in Christmas presents. I thought maybe it was a language barrier (although presents or gifts is a word they would know). Or maybe they really didn’t care so much about gifts.
But the reality was they were not expecting gifts because they don’t get gifts. Most of students said they did not get any presents from friends or family. One student said his teacher at school gave out chocolate. I only had one student who for sure said she got presents for Christmas. Another student said her parents used to give gifts when she was little, but not anymore. It’s not like she’s a teenager and out grown gifts. She’s only 12 years. Maybe she’s outgrown toys. But clothes or little accessories are always nice. No one ever outgrows Christmas gifts.
Anyway I just thought it was interesting. So different than back home. I mean Christmas shopping is such a big thing in the US. It’s interesting to think that few Korean parents are stressing about getting their kids gifts, keeping it a secret and making it appear that Santa got them.
Another thing that was interesting to see is how couple-y Christmas is. I was looking at some cards at store and I was thinking “Wow, Koreans move even faster than Americans. They are already prepped for Valentine’s Day.” And then Cate told me that they were Christmas cards. I wish I had taken a picture. It was quite odd to see so much red and pink and hearts on these “Christmas cards.”
I would say that my Christmas here was a success. I went to church and afterwards Heather, Cate and I got coffee. And later we got dinner together which was really good. On Christmas Eve I went to a Christmas party that was a lot of fun. It was different being away from my family, but I’m so happy Skype exists.