ChristmasinBeijingEvery year, come November, there’s growing excitement in the air in our house. Halloween is over and the next holiday season is coming. But I face a challenge – our home is in China, a country that likes Christmas but sees it mainly as an excuse to party.

The good news is Christmas trees and decorations will be put up around cities like Beijing, and Christmas music can be heard in malls and Starbucks (sometimes long into the new year). Presents, and even some decorations, aren’t hard to find at local markets or online. And best of all was when I discovered a turkey farm that delivers fresh-roasted turkeys to your door (

ChristmasinBeijing2So I overdo the decorations, put up a small tree and play Polar Express at least once a week. But when the day comes it’s tough to be away from family and there is no school break for the kids. The church community helps make it more enjoyable with services and programs. Work will organize a gala. And we invite friends and eat turkey and pumpkin pie and as long as there are presents, the kids are happy!

What are your stories of making the holidays festive in a non-celebrating country?


Jenny Lin is raising 3 boys in Beijing while working as a writer/editor. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her sporadically updated cross-cultural familial adventures at