More Christmas Than You

Recently I set up the little artificial Christmas tree my girlfriend bought for my last year. When I went to put the Christmas lights on it, I found that one of the wires had come disconnected from the switchbox. I probably wouldn’t be able to fix it without a soldering iron. Since I didn’t have time to get new Christmas lights, I just left the tree plain.

The next day my ayi came over and I pointed out the Christmas tree to her. I thought maybe she hadn’t seen a Christmas tree in someone’s home before. She proceeded to good-naturedly advise me that it was too bare, and I should get more ornaments and lights to decorate it properly. I just smiled and agreed with her.

ECNU Chinese Dep. Teachers

ECNU teachers

On Wednesday I went to a party for the Chinese department teachers of ECNU. (I’ve been teaching them English at their request, and it seemed like a good excuse for a party). The party was held in the nice home of one of the teachers. She had a real Christmas tree! It was the planted kind, and it was decorated in a simple but nice European style.

I had wanted to buy eggnog to share at the party, and I was pretty sure it could be bought at City Supermarket, but it turned out that City Supermarket had no holiday foods at all. Same goes for 久光, the supermarket near Jing’an Temple that carries mostly Japanese imports. Both supermarkets were fully decked out in Christmas decorations, but neither contained a single Christmas-themed food or drink item. Even Starbucks, with its overpriced (158 RMB, I think?) gingerbread house had more to offer. So instead of eggnog I took a bottle of Bailey’s I had been saving for a special occasion.

The party was briefly educational because I brought the mini Nativity scene that my parents gave me about two years ago. I explained who each figure was, and they all got a kick out of the cute little figurines.

X'mas at Plaza 66

via ShanghaiStreets

It seems like the department stores in Shanghai are getting more and more lavish in their Christmas decorations with each passing year. The things are really getting huge. Plaza 66 (a mall on Nanjing Road) has even set up a Christmas ferris wheel. Each “seat” is a case holding some overpriced bag or other item, and the whole things slowly turns, showing off the mall’s expensive offerings.

I guess maybe it’s because of all the over-the-top decorations everywhere that I am very content this year with an under-decorated tree and a very simple Christmas celebration.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. Merry Christmas! I’m pleased to hear that you still have that little Nativity set & that you’re getting good use from it.

  3. Merry Christmas to Sinosplice network and all the fellas and ladies in Shangers and Hungso. It all came so quickly… next up: 2006. Bam!

  4. Merry Christmas, John. For Christmas I want a job in Shanghai.

  5. Greg Pasden Says: December 25, 2005 at 5:56 am

    Merry Christmas!!
    Love you cousin,

  6. happy kwaanza paz. for christmas i want a strapping young lad who looks good in a plain white t shirt and a graduate degree. but ill suppose ill take socks and underpants again…..

  7. I’m strapping and i look good in underpants and socks. My graduate degree is in funkitude though. Does that count?

  8. doom, i thought you were aiming for “fat and sassy” this season….. are you sure you dont want to add the tshirt into the mix? funkitude, huh? ill funk yer tude brutha. you name the day.

  9. Next time make your own egg nog… It’s easy to do. You haven’t drunk ‘real’ egg nog if you’ve only ever had store bought…

    Guess now I know what kind of snob I am… 🙂

  10. looks like a good recipe…

  11. Laska,

    Whoa, I was actually considering making some eggnogg. When I told a friend about it, he scoffed at me. Somehow making eggnog seems like a dangerous, foolhardy venture. I am reconsidering this view, however, after looking at that link…

  12. john, it’s so funny that your Christmas decorations ended up so simple this year, b/c our family’s did too! must be some cosmic link. 😉

Leave a Reply