Another year has quickly passed by with Christmas around the corner. You know it is almost that time of the year when you start driving by parking lots filled with Christmas trees and houses are decorated with lights. This year, I even noticed they already started selling Christmas decorations in the stores in early November.
Christmas time at home in the USA
My family does not have any specific traditions for Christmas. But it is a time when we can all enjoy each other’s company at home and maybe even go out to eat Chinese food, as Chinese restaurants are typically still open on Christmas day. Previous years, it was always either me or my sister coming back home from university during the holidays so Christmas was always the time when everyone was finally at the same place at the same time. Sometimes, we may even go look at the Christmas tree illuminations. We live 30 minutes away from downtown Los Angeles so we look for local illuminations in order to avoid the busy-ness of downtown.
Christmas office party at TÜV Rheinland North America
The TÜV Rheinland Christmas party is my first experience at a corporate party since graduating from university. In particular, our office’s holiday party is different as we are a smaller, tight-knit office with around 20 people.
We have the tradition of a white elephant gift exchange, which is a very popular tradition in America. It is a party game with presents! Everyone brings a present, often they are funny things, without knowing who will get it in the end. All members draw a number and Number one picks a gift. If Number two likes the present of Number one, he can steal it from him or select a gift that has not been opened yet. And so it goes on until everyone has a gift. Going last is always the best as by the time it is your turn, all the gifts have already been opened. The surprise is always great and it’s really fun. Another thing we like to do is raffle, but we also typically have a team-building activity after lunch like an escape room. Planned for this year is a wine and painting activity. It is one of those few times in the year where everyone is able to gather and celebrate the festivities.
Once I had the chance to attend a friend’s company party previously and was shocked at the vast amount of people in attendance – around 300 people! I realized that it is impossible for everyone to know each other there. We had dinner, attended a raffle, and took some photos in the photo booth before leaving. It gave me the chance to appreciate the coziness of our annual Christmas parties and for me: bigger is not always better.
Celebrating Christmas traditions in Hong Kong
Six years ago after my study abroad experience in South Korea had ended, I planned to spend Christmas in Hong Kong with my relatives. My parents are from Hong Kong, but it was my first time visiting Hong Kong and also spending Christmas away from home. Hong Kong is known to be a small, densely populated city, so one can imagine what Christmas time would be like.
Christmas with my relatives in Hong Kong consisted of spending dinnertime with them. Afterwards, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was in Hong Kong during this time of the year and explore the city. Going to Tsim Sha Tsui where you can access the famous Victoria Harbor, I have never seen so many people out on a holiday like Christmas, to the point as if we were packed like sardines.
Since back home I would typically avoid venturing out into downtown Los Angeles. However, in Hong Kong, Christmas decorations are in every corner and it is a festive atmosphere where people are still out celebrating late into the night. It was definitely an eye-catching experience to be able to explore outside my comfort zone and really soak in the Christmas festivities in another city away from home.