Huanying Santa! A Very Merry Beijing Christmas
    2009-12-11 15:40:04      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
Christmas is just around the corner and many foreigners in Beijing are anxiously preparing for the long flight home in order to spend Christmas with their families. Still, there are many more that will spend yet another Beijing-style Christmas here with friends.

Phil Pearson, whose family is from both Japan and the UK explains that like many British families, Christmas is the only time of year when his family goes to church to sing carols.

"In Mexico, Christmas is a really important celebration for family, all my family gathers together, we go to church around ten pm and then we go home and we have all have dinner together," says Luis Euan Itza, a China Representative for Amatar DMC Mexico Travel Service.

One commonality all the families seem to share on Christmas is the inevitable tendency to overindulge with the food.

However, tradition dictates what kind of food to indulge in more than the family's country of residence.

In the United States, the diverse heritage assures that there is not one set Christmas meal. Some families eat roast beef while others prepare Cornish hens or a baked ham.

Mr. David Pimentel's Christmas dinner in America is influenced by his Portuguese father, who prefers seafood and rice paella on Christmas, while local Kro's Nest employee Kara Elise Brouillette's family from Louisiana only serves Cajun food.

Roasted turkey with potatoes is a family tradition that curiously transcends borders and according to many, is a hearty Christmas favorite reaching all the way to Peru and Mexico, the UK, Germany and France, and up to Canada.

However, each country adds its own unique twist to the standard oven basted and baked bird.

The Germans add red cabbage, the Peruvians add apple sauce and the Mexicans add in some spicy chilies and "nopales," a kind of prickly pear cactus.

Still, many French families prelude their turkey or guinea foul by complimenting it with a side of foie grois, made from duck or goose liver and sipped with a glass of fizzy champagne.

In Mexico, Mr. Euan Itza says the turkey must be complimented with "romeritos."

"Romeritos are little dumplings stuffed with vegetables and some kind of meat," he explains "they are special because we just make them for Christmas."

Nonetheless, despite all the delectable edibles, foreigners do admit that no family gathering is perfect, and many say that petty disputes or annoyances are inevitable this time of year.

Many say discrepancies arise over board games or cooking responsibilities and the general stress of everyone striving to create the perfect day.

In addition, every family has its own Christmas oddities that can seem comical to other families. 

Cindy Pi from New York explains that in her family, a professional film crew follows them around the house throughout the day. The video is then made into what Cindy describes as "a really badly edited techno music video" delivered a week after the festivities.

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