Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Deals

First of all, two of my coworkers wrote about a totally rockin' birthday party they went to over the weekend (I had already made a pirogi date and opted out), that there is some good culture reading.

But 'tis the season and all of that. In addition to doljanchis, we've got Christmas coming up. It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since I put the wheels in motion to even come to Korea to begin with. Crazy, huh?

To make a long story short, Christmas is not a big deal here. And while Jesus Christ is pretty popular with Korean moms, he only enjoys a 25% mindshare with Korea at large. Buddha gives him a run for his money (also at about 25%), and the Siddhartha/Yeshua tag-team can barely contend with the remaining apathetic/agnostic 50%. You see signs for Buddhist temples just as often as you see tacky neon crosses. So their respective birthdays get equal amounts of attention.

"Christmas shopping" is just not a thing, here. Neither, then, is Christmas gift-giving. A weird shift in attitude from wondering what to get just about everyone and their brother for Christmas. I made some purchases for Koreans before I knew this—oops—but that's all right. I love gift-giving and finding the perfect gift for people, so Christmas shopping doesn't really stress me out. It's actually a little bit depressing to see it relegated to children and couples...though maybe that makes the gift-giving less commercial and more "from the heart."

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