Categorized | Daegu, Expat Life, Korea

Christmas in Korea

I have spent Christmas away from my immediate family before, but those years I always had my ex’s family to spend it with. So this was a new experience for me. I am thousands of miles away from home and spent my first Christmas with no family around. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but surprisingly it went by quickly. I think what helped was not being bombarded by Christmas for weeks in advance. Many Koreans celebrate Christmas but not to the point that we do back home. You don’t see Christmas lights, Santas, Reindeer, or hear Christmas music everywhere you go. It is more of a surprise when you do see something relating to Christmas. So Christmas came and went before I knew it.

Koreans spend Christmas a little different that we do. They tend to spend the time with their significant other rather than family. Many of my students planned to go to a PC Bang and play video games all day long. There was not much mentioned of traveling to see family, or having a huge special family meal. They spend Christmas with their significant other, and New Year’s with their family, just the opposite of what we do back home.

The foreign teachers at work and I tried to keep in good holiday cheer. I think it was harder for others than it was for me. Most are away from home for the first time ever this time of year. I tried to keep in the holiday spirit by making some Christmas candy. With my limited resources here, no oven and not much in the utensil department, I went with chocolate covered pecans. Pecans themselves are not big here. I had been searching hoping to find the ingrediants to make pecan pie and finally found some at COSTCO. They turned out quite good, and I think everyone at work enjoyed them. It wasn’t quite like having divinity or date balls, but it did the trick.

We had decided to do a secret Santa gift exchange to keep in the holiday spirit as well. It turned out to be a good night after work on Christmas Eve. I recieved a great gift that will have me laughing for a long time. First of all, I got a Christmas toilet seat. This is absolute genius and has to be the best secret santa gift I have ever gotten. To add to that, I got some chopstick trainers (see pics below). It is well known here that my chopstick skills are lacking and I can’t wait to sport my purple dinosaur chopstick trainers out one day next week for lunch. All in all it was a great night.

Christmas came and went pretty quickly. I got up and talked to my parents in the morning, went to the gym for a short time because I knew I was going to pig out later in the day, then went to join my fellow workers for a nice meal downtown. We had a nice Western style Christmas dinner of turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes. The only hang up I had was the menu called for pumpkin pie, which I had been craving since Thanksgiving. Pies in general are difficult to find around here, except for walnut which isn’t too shabby. Instead of pumpkin they served apple. I am sure it was good but I was really looking forward to pumpkin. All in all I had a great time at lunch and enjoyed the atmosphere. I have to admit I missed my mom’s cornbread dressing and all the other goodies that are made every year. It was a good experience being in a foreign country for Christmas however. I really enjoy being here and look forward to more adventures.

About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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2 Responses to “Christmas in Korea”

  1. angryredhead says:

    CHOPSTICK TRAINERS!!!! that is so freaking cool!! I NEED some!

    Also, sounds like a pretty awesome Christmas to me. Decorative toilet seat cover?! Amazing.

  2. Eric says:

    It was a pretty awesome Christmas. It was a lot of fun and I am glad I got to experience Christmas in another country.


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