As Western things have continued to grow in popularity and prestige, Chinese elite have increasingly adopted our fashions, mannerisms, buzz words and yes, even our holidays. While the Christmas blitz starts later in Beijing than in the US, it’s definitely here, albeit a little bit altered.
You can buy traditional looking plastic Christmas trees in Beijing at large chain grocery stores, although they’re pretty expensive. Instead, I bought this little metal tree at Ikea and decorated it with some on-sale decorations from WuMart.
My tree looks even more pathetic next to some of the decorations up around town. In typical China fashion, they do our holiday bigger and flashier than even we do.
Several weeks before Christmas, large parts of the Joy City shopping mall were walled off for work on giant Christmas displays.
I sort of wonder what the migrant workers make of giant purple Christmas trees and irridescent glitter paper.
Eventually, it all came out like this:
As we affectionately call it, the “expresscalator” goes up six stories, so you can imagine the scale of the display. It’s pretty incredible that it was all handmade. We got to watch workers gluing fabric, painting, assembling, and even sleeping inside the display.
Trying to act like real locals, we took pictures in front of the displays. I personally love that they had cleaning ladies dusting them during busy mall hours. Oh, China.
This display also goes up six stories, and is in the same mall.
Here is the outside display at Joy City:
The swans are over ten feet tall and have glowing butts. I’m not sure why they glow, but they also change colors. Neat!
And of course, Chinese Santa!
I love the perfect metaphor within this picture for the way Chinese see Christmas. Everyone is just gawking, nobody really gets what it’s about, yet everyone wants in the action.