As the holiday season continues on, I’ve not forgotten how festive and fun my first Thanksgiving in Korea was. It’s no surprise I wanted to keep the good times rolling by spreading some holiday cheer for Christmas. I asked my Korean co-teachers, friends and students how they celebrate Christmas. In contrast to how myself and many of my friends/family celebrate, Christmas is largely known as a “couples” holiday in Korea. The same way many Americans celebrate Valentine’s day with their sweetheart, many young Korean couples spend this day together eating or cooking a fancy meal, catching a movie and exchanging presents. This was the answer I heard 90% of the time when I asked if Koreans celebrate Christmas. The other 10% of the time was from the small amount of my students who told me they celebrate at home with their families. However, the idea of Santa was squashed because my students quickly told me, “Santa isn’t real, Tessa Teacher.” I feigned shock, because to this day, my mom says, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” That lady doesn’t mess around, so, of course, I still believe!
Despite the romantic notion of Korean Christmas, Seoul has not failed to capitalize on the Christmas markets, decorations and events around town. After a quick search of the web to see which markets I wanted to go to, Seongbuk Global Village Center‘s European Christmas Market quickly stood out in popularity as the one to attend. It had all the makings of the holiday season in market form as well as the promise of many European dishes I haven’t eaten in months since moving here. It was small in size compared to other food festivals I’ve been to, but it had an impressive layout of both countries and dishes represented.
The massive Christmas Tree at Seoul Plaza next to City Hall was also fabulous to see in person. We went on the “first lighting” night where they lit the tree up to commence the holiday season. Not only was the tree on prominent display, there were many photo opportunities set up in and around Seoul Plaza and the City Hall building. I’d like to consider this “I Seoul U” Christmas tree photo as my virtual holiday card for the year.
What are some of your must-do activities during the holiday season? Share the details with me in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and check in for my regular posts over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.