My First Korean Christmas

It’s a Christmas tradition in my family to go for a drive around town on Christmas Eve to admire the colourful lights. Here in Seoul, I went on many walks around the city for several weeks leading up to the Big Day, hunting for festive displays of glowing lights. I found them.

There’s certainly no shortage of electric, exciting lights in Seoul, especially at top spots like City Hall and Cheonggye Stream. Sidewalks, malls, banks, subway stations—cheerful decorations, the festive spirit, and melodious choruses of “Last Christmas” are everywhere. Even without the glistening white snow and sub-zero winter temperatures, it sure feels like Christmas time.

Because there is a huge proportion of Christians in South Korea, Christmas is celebrated as a religious holiday. It’s different from the gift-giving, family-oriented holiday elsewhere.

As we were all craving family, friends, and turkey on Christmas Day, my expat friends and I headed to the Hilton for a buffet feast. We devoured lamb, beef, seafood, turkey (of course), fruit, salads, and desserts; drank Cass and wine; and enjoyed each other’s company. Here, we’re each other’s family.