If I were in the Philippines, we would be preparing food like other Filipino families. We would be having our noche buena at 12 midnight. On Christmas day, friends, family and godchildren would visit us. Here in Korea, it’s quite different how my family celebrates but it’s as merry and meaningful.
What I love about being in another country and having my own family is that I don’t need to follow the traditions. I could create my own “traditions” and I feel that I’m happier having my own way ;p
My husband is a Buddhist but he would always join me in this Christian holiday. We usually go to Myeongdong on Christmas eve and join the merry making amidst the thick crowd and the freezing coldness of winter. Last year, my two boys (husband and son) waited for me at Euljiro1-ga station (near Lotte Department Store in Myeongdong). We just walked around Myeongdong and had dinner at a pizzeria. I remember walking home though it was cold. We had a great time. In fact, it was one of my merriest Christmases ever!
This year, I decided to skip Myeongdong because of the crazy traffic we had in Seoul tonight. The usual 5-minute bus ride from my work to the subway station took about 40 minutes. I could’ve look for cheap auto insurance on the internet with that time or less. My mother-in-law is also staying with us. I love having her here – our small apartment is always clean and we have a lot of side dishes in the fridge ;p
I just bought a cake, which is what Koreans traditionally do on Christmas eve. We shared the fresh cream cake from Paris Baguette that I paid for partially with my Happy Points! The cake was originally 27,000 won but I only paid 13,000 won.
We also decided to skip the gift-giving this year. Instead of giving each other presents, we decided to just give the money we would spend for presents to the Salvation Army. And tonight, I received a loud “Merry Christmas” greeting and smiles from the two girls manning the red bucket at Sindorim station.
I like my celebration of Christmas here. It’s as merry as the ones we had in the Philippines when I was a lot younger.
Merry Christmas everyone!