China Girls Abroad


Santa Claus's hotel, in London Westfield 

 Christmas and New Year hit the UK like an explosion. There are gradual tremors first in the supermarkets. You can see Christmas decorations suddenly appear on boxes of chocolates and biscuits, and then suddenly almost the end of November, the big radio stations decide it's time and they play the first Christmas song, like the Pogues, "Fairytale in New York". It's like a gun shooting the race. Everywhere, there are Christmas trees, lights, Santa Clauses, Elvis giving presents to children, cards, gifts, office parties, and a complete madness in the shops as parents rush to get the latest toy for their children and buy enough good to last the whole of the new year! Well not quite but it looks that way when you see the shopping trolleys absolutely laden with turkeys, Christmas puddings and stacks of everything people can think of to eat.



Beautiful Christmas tree in Covent Garden, London


 Christmas runs through to the New Year festival, so this whole frenzy carries on right the way until almost the 3rd January. In some ways it is like the Chinese New Year, and just as stressful as mothers worry about whether there will be enough to eat and what will happen when all the relatives get together. The strain of being polite and "giving face" to everyone happens here too!


Kids waiting for Elves' gifts 


Not surprisingly a lot of people in the UK actually say that they dread Christmas. There can be awful strains as people feel pressured to keep up, to buy expensive presents and spend much more than they can afford. Everyone dreads the credit card bills that arrive at the end of January and people get into terrible debt. The British are famous for this anyway, and at the end of the moment they have collective debts of 13 trillion Yuan. That is a lot of Christmas presents!


Glasgow kids are also queuing out side Santa Claus' hotel for Elves' Chrismas presents 


So the festival has a dark side. On the surface it is all happy, and the press and television are full of pictures of laughing children and happy families. But actually in the UK, many people live alone and can feel quite isolated. So all those images of Christmas and New Year happiness make some people feel even more lonely. So this festival is also a reason which can have tragic consequences in increasing depression, suicide and even murder.


Christmas chior - peaceful and happy. Glasgow Princes Square 

But cheer up there is a brighter side too! One thing about Christmas is that it reminds people to help others. So there is also a big increase in the giving of money to charity and helping people who have no homes to find shelter and food. Lots of people volunteer to do these things which are close to the original spirit of Christmas, and they discover that the best way to stop worrying about yourself is to help others!



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