I’m surprised at how much the Chinese (in Beijing, at least) embrace Christmas, or maybe it’s just Christmas decorations. ‘Tis the season, I guess (looking at you, KJS).
We started seeing evidence about a week ago, and now I see Santa’s fat face – mostly over the words “Merry X-mas” everywhere. Santa often sports his own bling, with things like the detail I saw this morning, a flower-shaped glittering purple decoration on his hat. Even the Starbucks in the China World shopping mall has a snowflake-adorned sign that says, “Let’s Merry.”
The artificial Christmas trees are all going for bling. The one outside the gym at our health club, for instance, is a sparkly mess of shiny ornaments, with the occasional Valentine heart thrown in. All the stairs are wound with garlands of magenta, green, red, gold. In the big shopping malls, the trees are giant and silver and gold, like something out of Snoopy’s tree in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
There’s even a Santa pavilion at one mall, which looks like a pink and blue carousel. I haven’t seen a live Santa yet, but I’m hoping I see one soon. I even heard a "First Noel" cell phone ring on the subway the other day. Ho ho ho.
What you won’t find here: cozy country Christmases, with logs on an open fire, felt and pinecone decorations, or anything remotely subdued or tasteful. But that’s in keeping with China. Why buy a plain sweater, when you can add a little fake fur, sparkle, a belt, ruffles, sequins, or all of the above?