Published on:
December 18, 2018

by: Guest

The Christmas Season as a Teacher in China

This weeks blog comes from Teach China Graduate, India-Mae Alby, her fourth blog installment so far. This week, India shares with us what it is like being an English Teacher around the festive period in Fuzhou.

A Peaceful Christmas in Fuzhou

It’s that time of year again! Time for me to ignore Christmas music, lights, movies and any other reference that could be made to what I consider a trivial, commercialised holiday. Thankfully for me, that’s a lot easier for me to do now that I’ve moved to China. However, I can’t completely escape Christmas here (which is obviously great for other people – I recognise that I’m part of the minority who doesn’t like this time of year).

Show Park, my local mall, is currently adorned in fabulous blue lights (way too bright, just like every other form of outdoor lighting here) and there is a massive snow globe surrounded by reindeer just outside one of the entrances. The mall has been playing an acoustic version of ‘Jingle Bells’ on its speakers since at least October. Some shops have ‘Merry Christmas’ signs and are stocking Christmas-themed clothes, toys and accessories. Haven’t seen any turkeys or frozen pre-made Yorkshire puddings in the supermarkets though.

Christmas at My School

My school will be doing Christmas activities for the students, like arts and crafts and teaching basic Christmas vocab, as well as a talent show. A Christmas tree has now been decorated and put up in our teachers’ office. The teachers and Teaching Assistants are all taking part in a Secret Santa too.

Celebrations with Friends, and a KFC…

Last night I went to a mulled wine evening hosted by a couple of my colleagues and it was really nice. I didn’t have any wine but the apartment smelled like cinnamon so I was happy. Some other colleagues are currently planning a whole host of meals, games, songs and general merriment for people to enjoy at their apartment on Christmas Day, which will fall on our weekend (we work Saturdays and Sundays so Monday and Tuesday make up our weekend).

Nonetheless, I am more enticed by the KFC Christmas advert currently on show in my apartment building lift. I might go to KFC on Christmas Day then go back to my apartment to watch The Good Place on Netflix or do a weekend trip in Xiamen, a coastal city that’s a 2-hour train ride from Fuzhou, with another anti-Christmas workmate.


China is a Communist country with a lot of religious citizens. I’ve seen people praying in Taoist and Buddhist temples, shrines inside of people’s houses and even nightclub entryways, and extravagant mosques and churches. There are restaurants along the road near my school owned by Muslims and Christians, respectively. The Christian lady who owns the soup place tried to convert my flatmate and I once while we were eating there.

She spoke Chinese into my phone’s microphone and Google Translate told us she was talking about Jesus Christ redeeming our souls. That was an uncomfortable meal. She didn’t stop for about 10 minutes and our soup got cold. Anyway, my point is that there may well be lots of traditional Christian Christmas celebrations on the 25th. You’ll just have to go to churches and people’s homes to find them.

A Less Commercialised Christmas…

I may have just come to the right place, where there is less commercialisation of the holiday and more genuine appreciation of the core message of Christmas. I’m happy to be avoiding the awful swarms of shoppers at Oxford Street this year!

India is a University of Warwick graduate, and currently teaching in a language centre in Fuzhou as part of the 2018 Teach China Graduate Program. Read more about her China journey here.


Comments are closed.