Being away from family on Christmas is not always easy. I get this intense fear of missing out on all the family events (and all the food) going on at home. Korea doesn’t really celebrate Christmas (even Christian families) in the whole festiveness of it all. You’ll find the odd Christmas tree and lights in certain areas and in some shopping malls, but generally, people work right up to and straight after Christmas. It’s so strange, but it makes me not really miss home and family, because it doesn’t even feel like Christmas!!
Christmas in Korea
But of course, we didn’t let this stop us from celebrating and celebrating well!! This is how we did Christmas in Korea!
Nampo-dong is home to a street market that takes place throughout the year. It houses our favourite (roads of) thrift shops (where we managed to find great ugly Christmas sweaters), as well as our favourite carts of street food (cart 63 is our go-to for mandu and pajeon for just W5000). It always has a festive atmosphere with crowds of people wandering around enjoying what it has to offer. In December it gets dolled up with lights and a giant LED christmas tree along the main stretch. This was enought to put me in a holly jolly mood for a little while. Streets too cold at night? Nothing some Scotch Blue Pocket can’t fix for you!
Friendsmas Eve Dinner
Grab a bunch of friends, organise a pot luck dinner, everybody bring some food. Eat, eat some more, exchange Dirty Santa gifts, eat again, this time in excess, all while drinking mugs of mulled wine. Right after dinner, take some group pics and enjoy home made Baileys with coffee, cookies and pumpkin loaf. Follow this with fun group games and end by falling asleep on the couch and (warm ondol) floor while listening to random Christmas carol renditions via YouTube.
|Thanks to Hedgers Abroad for the group snap!|
Christmas Day Lunch
As if we didn’t eat enough the entire day before Christmas, this was our chance to do it all again. We had a delicious roast meal, with mulled wine, Korean wine, Christmas carols, Christmas movies. We even had real Christmas pudding (complete with the brandy and the flame) thanks to Ed’s family in the UK. Bianca (baker extraordinaire) had some home made gingerbread men waiting for us and made some fresh mince pies with our tea after desert! Our Korean friend HyoJeong joined us too and experienced her first Christmas meal! What a mix of Christmas traditions, but so super special.
Christmas Themed English Camp
Since Christmas in Korea isn’t celebrated the way we are used to, I decided to theme one day of our winter camp around Christmas and let the students hear about how I (and some other western countries) get into the festive spirit. I taught them some Christmas vocabulary, showed some pictures of some decorated houses and made a Christmas wreath out of some super cool ball clay. After that we watched “Shrek the Halls” and then played Go Fish using Christmas vocab cards while listening to all my favourite Christmas Carols!
How do you celebrate Christmas? What’s your favourite holiday tradition? Do you find it difficult being away from home and family during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! With love, the Scroobletts xxx