This One Time in . . . China: A Painted Christmas Tree

I’ve had two Christmases in China. The first Christmas, I was a tad massively obsessive compulsive about following traditions from home. The second Christmas, I joined up was dragged along with my Irish and British friends on a Christmas Eve night that is probably not best to describe on a public website that future employers may see. Let’s just say Christmas morning involved a lot of prayer and tylenol.

Pre-Christmas Eve night of excess and crazy!!! New haircut, new purse, and waiting for friends to celebrate with. (Second Christmas in China)

Pre-Christmas Eve night of excess and crazy!!! New haircut, new purse, and waiting for friends to celebrate with. (Second Christmas in China)

One of my favourite Christmas memories from China, however, is the painted tree I made my first year. I didn’t know where to get a real Christmas tree so I decided to make my own. I got some thin paper and mixed together some thin paste. The idea was to paint on the paper and then peel it off without damaging the wall. I obviously should have paid more attention to my dad while he was building houses. Needless to say it didn’t work, but for five a couple of months I had my own personal tree.

The makeshift Christmas tree . . . I went all out on this sucker!

The makeshift Christmas tree . . . I went all out on this sucker!

(After I painted the tree, I saw real trees for sale at our local supermarket. Way to go impatience!)

Once the tree was on the wall, I used hot pink duck tape to hang coloured lights and ornaments made out of scratch paper from the crafts supply store. I was so proud of that tree I insisted on having the Christmas eve party and Christmas morning in my room. It didn’t hurt that my otherwise talented friend and hallmate Jillayne couldn’t cook and had a broken heater.

On Christmas Eve, our five closest Chinese friends piled into my room while Christmas music downloaded from sketchy websites drifted through the air. I don’t actually remember what all I cooked other than my Cheesy Whipped Potatoes (Recipe coming soon ~ These suckers have landed me two boyfriends and a semi-serious marriage proposal.) We passed out gifts and then played card games, mostly BS, until security said company had to go.

1st Christmas Eve party with the girls! Coco, Nancy, Jillayne, & Ivy (Sarah & Sabrina not pictured but still much loved)

1st Christmas Eve party with the girls! Coco, Nancy, Jillayne, & Ivy (Sarah & Sabrina not pictured but still much loved)

Jillayne stayed in my room that night to keep from freezing to death in her own room to be able to get up for an epic Christmas morning. You see we were both really nervous about our first Christmas away from family so we kind of overdid it on gifts from each other. After we placed these mountains of presents under the tree, we crawled into bed while the glow of my makeshift tree warmed the night.

One of the best Christmas mornings ever!

One of the best Christmas mornings ever!

There are a lot of things I forgot about that Christmas because the experience was so new that I was kinda tense. Yet that tree will forever remain in my memory as a reminder that it’s okay to break from tradition and that things don’t need to look perfect to make it a memorable holiday.

What are some of your favourite Christmas memories?

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