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John Abbot is co-owner of Married to a lovely Chinese Lady and living in China, John knows and respects China, Chinese Women, Chinese People and Chinese Culture. His blog will include good stuff about Online Dating, Chinese Women, International Relationships and Things Chinese. Join John Abbot on Google+
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Christmas In Hangzhou & Merry Christmas to You    

By John Abbot
2334 Views | 8 Comments | 12/25/2011 4:06:40 PM

It's been a bittersweet few days leading up to Christmas for my wife and I here in Hangzhou. We're both missing family in different parts of the world, and as good as it is to be with each other during this time, it would so much better to also be with our sons and daughters, my aging Mother, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, all those little grandchildren, plus other close family members or old friends.

And let's face it - Christmas may be fast becoming the biggest party of the year in China, but partying is hardly what we Westerners love about this holiday. For most of us (whether or not we are practicing Christians) Christmas is about family, just as Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival are about family for the Chinese. For me, knowing that if I wanted I could go down to a bar on the lake and party my brains out on Christmas eve or Christmas day just makes the whole period more melancholy, not less.

But just the same we had some nice moments yesterday, Christmas Eve. We went for a nice stroll in our own part of town during the afternoon and found a great tree in a small park nearby. I don't know my trees, but my father did and he had planted a couple of Mountain Ash in our old front yard. Every fall (autumn) those mountain ash broke into the most glorious colours you can imagine before losing their leaves. I don't know if the tree we spotted yesterday was a mountain ash, but the colours reminded me so much of Dad's trees, and therefore of my youth, of my old family home and especially of my father.

My father was a strong, silent and very good man. I didn't realize it then so much, but looking back now I realize that more than any other single person in my life, Dad made Christmas the special time and the special feeling that it was. Dad died about 5 years ago and lately I've found myself missing him more than ever. Seeing that tree was a little like seeing Dad again, and for a short while I had that rush of Christmas joy that I remember from days gone by. It was a special moment.

From there we headed downtown for dinner but first did some more walking. This is not the first time I've said it - there is something magical/mystical about West Lake in Hangzhou, and there is always a special feeling for me down there. And Christmas eve was no exception. We watched the sun set over the lake and it turned into something wonderful, something so beautiful that you couldn't help but feel lucky to be alive.

It wasn't exactly the same as a White Christmas like back home in Canada, but it was a special moment, and made me realize that Christmas is really about love and thoughts of those you love. I was fortunate enough to be with someone I love, and even more fortunate to have so many in my life that I do love. Even if I can't be with them at this special time, their very place in my heart still makes this time so special, a time to be treasured. A time to think of each of them, to give thanks that they are alive and well, and a time to harken back to the past and give thanks to those who have added so much to your life and can't be with you now.

So Christmas in Hangzhou has been quiet and a little melancholy, but very special just the same.

However, having said that, I must say that I've already determined that my New Year's resolution this year (and my only New Year's resolution) will be to make 100% sure that next Christmas is a gathering of all my dearest and nearest family members for a few magical days like those Christmas days of years gone by, those Christmas days my father helped give to me.

In closing, let's not forget that CLM and ALM is a little like extended family, and believe it or not, we are truly pulling for each and every member to find that special someone who will make life better, and make Christmas time mean so much more. Regardless of race or religion, may you all enjoy warmth and happiness over this Christmas period, and may you find your special love here on CLM or ALM soon if you haven't already done so. Merry Christmas to everyone.

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#2011-12-25 17:12:36 by panda2009 @panda2009

Beautiful prose!. Poetical landscape! Fabulous moment! Merry Christmas!

#2011-12-25 20:22:45 by doctorj @doctorj

west lake! the very most beautiful place on earth! and wonderful memories of you and christine watching a similar sunset only a few months ago....merry christmas, john.

#2011-12-25 22:14:15 by tanshui @tanshui

Beautiful thoughts well expressed.

And yes 'there is something magical/mystical about West Lake in Hangzhou'. I felt that when I was visiting you in Hangzhou. And your photo does capture that.

This Christmas I am in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with my 88 year old man from the Canadian west. His generation are quite something. We are both fortunate to have wonderful fathers.

And my young sister and her 5 kids are here. My young brother is with his family in Alberta. I will go to Montreal to spend the New Year with my daughter.

So this Christmas feels special to me.

Merry Christmas.

#2011-12-25 22:22:56 by luckyguy @luckyguy

Nice memories.... Here in the midwestern states of American we usually have lots of snow for Christmas, but not this year. Today (Christmas Day) will be a happy day for me because I get to see all of my children and and grand children. I have many fond memories of Christmas with my parents and my 14 brothers and sisters.... My parents made Christmas special for all of their children without money for gifts.... Merry Christmas to everyone.

#2011-12-26 05:08:35 by danruble @danruble

Thinking back..remembering people and places.. Remembering good times and bad.. A time for reflection, introspection and evaluation Hope for good. Good thoughts and deeds.. This year Christmas was a little sad, my father passed on December 17th,last year..First Christmas without him. For months,somewhere in the back of my mind it did not seem real. The end. I would think of something, a problem of a mechanical nature, or just to chat. make a call. Or just drive over.. sit on the bench..Discuss matters of great or little import..Or say nothing. Enjoy each other's company.. Never again. Not going to happen. Yes. Time to reflect. Time for family. Family is important. I hope everyone remembers to be kind to each other.. Not just now but through the oncoming years.Cherish you friendships and relationships. John and the rest of the CLM staff, as well as the CLM members all..Thank you for this site and.. God Bless,and Merry Christmas everyone of us...

#2011-12-27 07:31:01 by Mara787 @Mara787

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and what beautiful view in Hangzhou River...May God Bless you and your family...

#2011-12-27 17:16:41 by canadianmike @canadianmike

Hear, hear! This blog has struck a chord with me. Indeed, this time of year is a time to give thanks to the people around you, family and otherwise, who have contributed to your happiness throughout the year. No matter how it is that people help each other, it is the effort itself that shows how much we all need each other's presence in our lives. Our friends and loved ones are the glue that keeps us from unravelling.
"I'd rather have two good friends, than 500,000 admirers." -E.E. Cummings

#2012-01-07 20:34:30 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Thanks to all for well wishes and kind words. We're moving on to Chinese New Year now so I hope Christmas and Western New Year were good to everyone, and that CNY will be equally so.

Tanshui, how kind of you to compliment "my photo" but as you probably secretly suspected, I am not much of a photographer and almost all quality pictures that I add to my blogs, including these two, are taken by my wife who is quite talented that way. I'll tell her you liked them.

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