This is the first Christmas I spent with my family after I moved back to Korea.
(Well, I came back to Korea last Christmas, but I was ill and busy writing my three 4000 words essays, so I did not enjoy my Christmas at all!) Based on my experience of spending Christmas in two different countries, Korea and the UK, I would like to share my experience and thoughts on their differences.
1. Christmas Crackers
Christmas cracker is the first big difference I noticed.
Before I moved to London, I had never seen Christmas crackers, and when I first saw it I thought it is a gift-wrapped giant candy.
Later, I realised, it is called Christmas Crackers, and two people pull each end and the person with the bigger part wins the prize inside. Although the word cracker suggests it would crack like a firecracker, I had no idea it would be so loud.
I saw Flying Tiger Korea sells Christmas Crackers this year so I can enjoy Christmas crackers at home with my family.
2. Advent Calendars
Advent calendar is another big difference I noticed. I grew up watching lots of American/English films and dramas, but I had never seen a Christmas cracker in them. Why? I am wondering why there is not a single portrayal of advent calendars in movies and TV?
At my recent gift shopping, I noticed cosmetic brands like Loccitane Korea or The Body Shop Korea sell advent calendars… But It would be nicer if Korean confectionary companies make their own advent calendars like Haribo, Reese’s or Mars.
3. Christmas Jumper
Christmas jumper is my favourite part of British Christmas. Before I moved to London, I did not have a Christmas jumper, and I normally wear whatever I want to wear on Christmas. But, after seeing Christmas jumpers from shops and streets, I wandered around vintage shops in Shoreditch to get my special Christmas jumper.
When I was in London, it was easy to spot a Christmas jumper in shops. Global brands like H&M, Forever 21, Monki and Asos sell cute, funny or ugly Christmas Jumpers. Even companies and people throw Christmas jumper parties. But, in Korea, I couldn’t spot many people wearing Christmas jumpers. When I go out in my red Christmas cardigan embellished with snowman, snowflakes and glitters, strangers stare at me. I don’t mind staring because every person has different fashion style and my style could be hard to be accepted by others, but I wish, one day, I could throw a ugly Christmas jumper party
4. Most Shops are closed on Christmas
If you have been to Korea, you could notice that many shops are open 24/7.
In the UK, on Christmas and Easter holidays, many shops are closed and shorten their opening hours the day before the holidays.
However, in Korea, many shops are still open 24/7 and keep their regular opening hours.
This is because holidays are when Korean people are most likely to go out and eat out. Therefore, the shops and restaurants cannot take rest like others. Thinking about this makes me upset. I wish employees could rest and spend time with their family on holidays.
5. Boxing Day
I had heard of Black Friday sale when I was in Korea but never heard of Boxing day.
I thought it was related to boxing, the sport.
But it was impressive that all the major shops and department stores price down their products and some people queue at their favourite shops even on the day before.
So these are the differences I notice after spending Christmas in two different countries. I wonder how other countries spend Christmas. Especially, countries in the southern hemisphere! Christmas is always hot and sunny there. I hope I can have summer Christmas next year.