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Don't let the Grinch steal your Christmas

Publication Date : 23-12-2013


From all-night carolling to unsuspected mistletoe kissing, Christmas festivities with friends and family are often considered the best time of the year. If you live in Taiwan throughout the holiday season, however, you might feel like you are heading for the saddest time of the year as the streets don't have many Christmas decorations, the sky is completely overcast and there is no hope to ever experience a white Christmas here.

To make things worse, December 25 is not even an official holiday in the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) anymore, but we still hope you will try to open your hearts and avoid becoming a Grinch for all that. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Grinch is an “unpleasant person who spoils other people's fun or enjoyment”. With this definition in mind, we believe that you will make the most of your Christmas by reaching out to the most unlikely friends and celebrating with the members of other communities, even if you are away from home.

“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Who's far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand,” rightly wrote Dr. Seuss in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” The iconic tale, published in 1957 by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, depicts a green ogre living on a mountain, who despises the Whos in the village below where they celebrate Christmas. The happier they are about their holidays, the angrier he is, eventually hatching a plan to steal away their joy because he can't take it anymore.

Unlike the Grinch, we shouldn't let “a too-small heart” ruin our holidays. No matter how busy and crazy the week may feel for those who are working, don't let work ruin your Christmas. Get over it. Everybody has to work on Christmas Day in Taiwan. Gone are the days when government agencies, schools, restaurants and stores were shut. December 25, once called Constitution Day, aimed to remember how difficult it was to set up a constitution in the ROC and celebrate national unity by flying the national flag in memory of the importance of this historic event. With the ruling and opposition parties unable to agree on the meaning of the current constitution anyway, there is little hope that the day will ever become a national holiday again.

If your manager makes you work next Tuesday, just keep in mind that like in most Western countries, people who work in emergency and health services, call centres, gas stations, hotels and restaurants also help keep the country ticking over while others are enjoying themselves. This time, there will be people sparing a thought for you while they're opening their presents, messing about with their children's new gadgets and enjoying their turkey dinners.

At the same time, we should also remember Dr. Seuss's other message, “Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more,” meaning that we shouldn't complain (too much) about not getting the latest smartphone as Christmas comes despite all the trappings of gifts, trees and expensive dinners. If the Whos could survive a gift-less Christmas, surely we can too. And if you still complain ... well, don't be surprised if someone just calls you a Grinch.

Dr. Seuss further points to the three key things the Grinch hates the most about the holidays: noise, food and singing. Yet, they are definitely the things we should love the most! Living in a foreign country doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to Christmas. There is plenty of time over the next few days to plan a Christmas party with friends and family and exchange some gifts. The Grinch was shocked when he discovered that Christmas continued despite all his best efforts, but after all, no (or fewer) presents doesn't mean no Christmas, as sitting down and having a delicious feast with your loved ones is always the best part of the holidays.


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