Living in China,  My Life

Christmas in China


This year was my fourth Christmas spent in China, far away from my family and relatives. Last year was my first Christmas with my boyfriend Alan and he took great care of me while I was sick in bed. He even made Finnish soup for me according to my instructions.

This year Alan was away for work the whole week and I was very worried how the holidays would go without him by my side. It didn’t go as planned, far  away from my childhood Christmases, but in a way it was nice as well.

The Saturday before Christmas he went to the gym in the evening and while he was there, I decided to give him a surprise. I decorated our living room with Christmas ornaments, put up the tree with sparkling lights and wrapped his gift in a beautiful package. The smile on his face was amazing when he came back and saw what I had done. He also loved my gift, which was a jumpsuit similar to these these.

What about my gifts you might wonder? Alan got me a jumpsuit as well after I told him how much I liked his present myself! So now we have a matching outfits to wear at home, his is black and mine is red (see the photo above). He also bought me headphones as I’d been complaining how I can’t hear my podcasts in loud metros and buses. The headphones arrived while he was away, so I opened the express delivery package my self, but nevertheless it was a thoughtful present.

Christmas Eve is the most important day in Finland during the holidays. I mentioned this to Alan’s mother on that very morning and few moments later she came to me smiling and said: “We don’t understand Christmas or gift giving, but this is for you” and she handed me a red pocket of lucky money. I was so touched of how she cares about my holiday and traditions and wanted to give me a present.

I spent the Eve at home surfing online and watching Homeland with my cats, but on Christmas Day I cleaned the rooms and invited friends over. I bought lots of snacks and made traditional Finnish rice porridge for them. It takes one hour to make, but is very delicious! We also had dinner at a local restaurant in our village and then played card games until it was time for them to catch the bus.

I probably can’t spend Christmas in Finland anytime soon, as I hope to continue my studies next year. But I really hope that next time I can spend it properly with my boyfriend and his family at our new place in the old family home. And perhaps some day my family from Finland can join us as well for a different kind of holiday here in Guangzhou.

How was your Christmas in China or back home?


  • Anna Zech

    I remember a few Christmases I spent in China back then. Most of them were very lonely. But this year being back home in Germany, and the whole family finally together, is one of the best christmases ever.
    I hope you can get the chance on Christmas to get your whole family together. It doesn’t really matter if it is in China or in your home country, right? The feeling matters.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    So nice you got a family Christmas this year Anna, I hope I’m able to get one soon as well. You are right, if one can be with his/hers own family, then it doesn’t really matter where you celebrate the holidays.

  • chinaelevatorstories

    Your Christmas sounds great! I prepared a simple Austrian Christmas dish for Christmas’ Eve, but my husband found out that his father was hiding MSG behind some other spices and they started fighting over it (because we talked about it before and he said he wouldn’t use it – we don’t think MSG is healthy). When dinner was ready, my husband and his father ignored each other and didn’t want to eat at the same time. My FIL also only eats stuff he’s used to, so he didn’t even try (except for the potatoes that didn’t have anything added to them). My MIL at least tried the dishes and she did eat Sauerkraut with rice. Well, anyways, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call “merry” Christmas.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    You know, this sounds like something that could easily happen at our home as well, Alan’s home I mean. Sorry that it had to happen on Christmas Eve. You already saw more effort than me to bring something back home for everyone to enjoy.

    chinaelevatorstories Reply:

    That’s okay, Christmas next year can only get better :D. I didn’t have any presents though.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Love your optimistic attitude :)

  • R Zhao

    I actually really enjoy spending Christmas in China because I can do it “my” way instead of dealing with all the pressures of Christmas back home in the U.S. I tutor children, so every Christmastime I spend part of class teaching each of them how to bake a cookie or cake. At the end of the week, I have all the kids over to sample each other’s sweets and then we play games and exchange a small gift. I also decorate my home and give gifts to my husband and his family. They really are interested in it and also enjoy trying different dishes I make for the holiday, which makes all the difference. I only wish I could find the same enthusiasm for Chinese New Year, but I can’t. I hate it.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’m interested to know what do you hate about in Chinese New Year?

  • Hannah

    Hi Sara, that was a lovely post! When will you finish your studies at the university? :)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Glad you liked it :) I graduated already and my certificate is waiting for me at the international office.

    Hannah Reply:

    Congratulations! And congratulations on the engagement XD 好浪漫啦!今年夏天我要去广东住。我很喜欢看你的博文,令我越来越感动和期待!对不起,我中文不太好。要多努力!XD 有微博吗?

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:


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