Western Christmas in China-Do People Indeed Ignore It?

by Wei Gu

In this article, Wei Gu discusses the presence of western Christmas in China. It is a popular belief that Chinese people ignore western Christmas, as they have their own Chinese New Year. We asked whether it was true. Below is the answer for this tricky question:

Christmas season is coming! In recent days, the festive atmosphere is becoming stronger and stronger in Edinburgh. Some of my local friends asked me if such an important festival is indeed ignored by people in China. I would like to say no, though Christmas is not as influential as it is in Western countries. While most Chinese are likely to overlook the religious roots of Christmas, it has been steadily gaining its popularity in China over the past few decades. Chinese people have their own reasons to celebrate Christmas.

For business people, Christmas presents a great commercial value. They consider Christmas as a publicity stunt to attract customers’ interest and stimulate their desire to purchase. Many shopping malls and department stores are decorated with Christmas trees, twinkling lights and Santas, aiming to enhance the atmosphere. Nearly all merchants on various online shopping platforms also take this opportunity to launch their own sales promotions.

For parents, Christmas allows them to introduce west cultures to their English-learning kids. It is crucial to know about the customs and traditions, as well as the language itself. On Christmas Eve, the parents always tell stories about Santa Claus, hide presents for their kids somewhere and tell them, “If you are well-behaved, you will find the presents that Santa gave you the next morning!”

For young people, especially for the teenagers, Christmas also gives them an excuse for socializing outside, instead of staying with their family members. I still remembered when I was young, I was often looking for excuses to go out and have fun with friends because it temporarily made me free of my parents’ supervision!