Where Are You Christmas?

I can’t find Christmas.

I have hunted through all the busiest areas of Hong Kong, visited as many Christmas-themed settings as I can find, and yet I can’t find it. Christmas is just not there.

It’s weird that I’m saying this. People tell me that Christmas is everywhere, staring at them in their faces. No matter where you go, there are plenty of decorations that make you see Christmas. But they don’t understand – seeing Christmas isn’t the same as feeling Christmas.

I never thought about this before. You always take things for granted until one day, they’re suddenly not what they used to be. That’s Christmas for me this year. So I gathered up all the things that make Christmas, well, Christmas to me, and you know they are? Jingle bells – not the songs they play in the malls, but the people sitting outside in negative degree weather with a Santa hat, trying to raise money for charity. Christmas trees – not just any tree, but the one they put up in Richmond High and the one up in my house in Vancouver, because seeing those two trees up reminds me of family and friends. The hustle of people on the streets of downtown- not because of the busy atmosphere, but because among the business, I still see people slowing down to wish random strangers “Merry Christmas” as they hold open the door for the next person. The feeling of wanting to spread joy and happiness all around. It’s like the depiction of Christmas in Love Actually… you find yourself doing things you wouldn’t normally do, because “aww what the heck, it’s Christmas“.

If I were to go all TOK with this topic, I could summarize it with this: Hong Kong has only satisfied one of my ways of knowing to give me a sense of Christmas. In fact, it’s only satisfied part of that one way of knowing, being sense perception. All the Christmas decorations certainly give you visuals for one of your five senses, but there are no songs are cold weather to go with it. And most importantly, this city is missing out on a major way of knowing. Emotion. This Christmas spirit they talk about is all about emotion, and I think I already detailed my opinions about the priority of people’s emotions here in Hong Kong in a previous post.

I know this isn’t a problem with Hong Kong. It’s a problem with me. No matter where I go, I’ll never be able to see the same Christmas tree as I have at home. The people dearest to me can’t be with me all the time. And of course, this is Christmas as I know it, which can be different from everyone else. Maybe I’m the only lost one out of this busy city. But of course, that makes the feeling even lonelier for me.

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