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It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Don’t judge. Life has been hectic. I’ve got one kid in each school division this year: elementary, middle and high school. To say that life is crazy is an understatement. Add to that the fact that we live in CHINA and hopefully you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me.

The holiday season, Christmas season, is upon us. As expats in China, our holidays are readily accepted here. Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, Christmas. The Chinese have way more holidays – So. Many. Holidays. They’ve got Chinese New Year (actually a week), Tomb Sweeping day, October holiday (another week), Dragon Boat Festival, Ghost Festival, Moon Festival… the list goes on and on. Add them all together and there always seems to be something to celebrate in China!

There are also some “shopping” holidays. I compare them to our “Hallmark” holidays in the US. We have grandparents day, Valentine’s day, Sweetest Day etc. The Chinese have “11” day, also known as “Singles Day”. The premise is that if you’re single, you’ve got nobody to buy you gifts, so you should buy them for yourself! (Not bad, China. Not bad.)


This year, single Chinese people bought 9.3 BILLION dollars worth of stuff. In 24 hours. It’s the biggest shopping holiday in the world – four times bigger than the US “Cyber Monday”. According to Business Week, “Popular lore in China has it that Singles Day began as a lark in the mid-1990s. University students created the holiday, which they called guanggun jie, or bare branches festival, and picked the date 11/11 for its visual symbolism. They used to go to karaoke bars, eat youtiao—fried dough strips that resemble the number 1—and celebrate being unmarried in a culture that doesn’t generally. Alibaba appropriated the idea and introduced the first Singles Day sale in 2009.” There was also a big sale on 12/12 but I can’t seem to understand why?

Photo: warehouse ready to ship out 11/11 goods

The Chinese also really enjoy Christmas. The stores are decked out, sometimes oddly, but decorated nonetheless. They play jingle bells over and over. Dancing Santas abound. Apparently the Chinese like to give butter cookies as gifts for the holidays because they are everywhere!

Danish Butter cookies

In China, Santa Claus is called 圣诞老人; Old Christmas Man. A friend found some santas dressed in orange at a local mall. Sorry, I don’t have a photo. Something new that is becoming popular with the Chinese is giving apples on Christmas Eve. Many stores have apples wrapped up in colored paper for sale. People give apples on Christmas Eve because in Chinese, Christmas Eve is called ‘Ping An Ye’ (which means quiet or silent night) and the word for apple in Chinese is ‘Ping Guo’ which sounds similar. (Not to be confused with the catchy tune, “Xiao Ping Guo“, which you will never get out of your head once you hear it. Be warned. Click the link if you dare.

Photo – Over the top Christmas decorations in Shanghai

China is also the Christmas manufacturing capital of the world. The X’Mas Village in Yiwu, China, is produces 60% of the world’s Christmas “stuff” – and 90% of the Christmas goods to be sold in China. These “red factories” have been featured in the news lately, showing the horrible conditions and highlighting the cheap labor.

Photo – “Red Factory” in Yiwu, China.

Obviously there is a market for these goods, or the Chinese wouldn’t be churning them out! Christmas has truly become a global, commercial holiday. This painting by satirical artist, Pawel Kuczynski, kind of sums it up:
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Chinese workers putting the gifts directly into people’s homes.

Which leads me to…Taobao.

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Last year, I had a very hard time at Christmas. We don’t overdo Christmas – anymore. I’ll admit that when my kids were young, we/I did. But for years now, Santa brings 3 gifts each and my husband and I don’t “give” the kids anything for Christmas. Granted, we took the kids to Thailand last year and rode elephants on Christmas. That probably should have been enough. But when we returned, I really wanted the three Santa gifts to be under the tree. He had a very hard time finding good, meaningful gifts for my family. That’s because he/I had only dabbled in the glory that is – TAOBAO.

This year, I have done 99% of my Christmas shopping on Taobao. Taobao is China’s answer to Amazon.com. It’s Amazon on steroids. Seriously, you can get anything on Taobao. Most of it probably comes through Yiwu…and it will arrive at your doorstop within a day or two. Pretty amazing. I’ve ordered a custom made “Dead Pool” Halloween costume, mini terra-cotta warriors, split baby pants, fur lined leggings, and all sorts of gifts.

Photo – Taobao delivery guy

When shopping on Taobao, you need to run the website through Google Chrome to get the translations. You can either search in Chinese or English, but often if you search in English? The prices are higher. No lie. As a source of comic relief, I like to share some of the translations with my friends in the US. They make me laugh out loud. I hope you enjoy them too! (I prefer to read them aloud in a Morgan Freeman voice.) Happy holidays!

On old classic I call, “Ode to a Sweater”:

A small delivery delays due before the entire single ended up in our hands
Main wash tag all full genuine flawless slightest flaw if you have received

That must be your self-mutilation.
Delicate soft skin-friendly cotton knitted fabrics particularly sensitive skin M clothes so do not worry about not wearing a fat stick. fabric buttons miscellaneous line there is a sense of leaders echoed the same color tones. Mimi hit it with both eyes. Casual code skinny people can wear comfortable clothes feeling good.
No matter what the occasion is formal or casual fit or do you want to open the heart with absolute pregnant with chic wish?
Thin models can not wear thick spring and autumn and winter into several proposed multi-color for the wear.
It is nice and comfortable cabbage price is not.

A copycat Cartier bracelet:

Free shipping promotional classic fashion diamond bracelet. star lesbian couple bracelet with titanium steel 18K jewelry are titanium steel, medical health materials, does not produce allergic reactions , many allergies! girls personally verified!
General quality of the non-market can be compared. OUR baby to sell at wholesale prices, the highest absolute quality, cost-effective support of confinement!
Baby is the lowest, do not bargain, do not wipe zero, do not embarrass the pro-customer, oh!

Women’s bathing suit, didn’t buy it. Who would? –

Amy is everyone’s nature, each mother is the only way a woman gave birth to a little baby belly will inevitably be, how to do the most perfect harmony between the happy mother and beautiful? The swimsuit pleated side using a special process shrink, wrinkle reduction throughout the entire length of the sides of the large amount of wrinkle reduction makes the perfect cover pot, with a pot belly folded, no pot will not seem cumbersome, Truly there is no pot are the same flawless.

Backpack- I bought it. It was not fleshy but it was limp:

Photographer truthfully say: get a good hand light. Yeah, filmed bag of this size can be said that the weight was the first time, open the dust bag, touch the “fleshy” bag, although it is waterproof nylon but feel not feel shriveled thin but very dense and smooth soft but not limp did not type.
above all Tingting small clamshell children like little hat looks very like air,
Traces neat workmanship, exquisite workmanship is necessary, the big fashion movement designed to make small backpack green. And very practical.

Wishbone necklace, a little “Western Legend” for you:

Wish Bone is actually chicken sternum (Last mom bought whole chicken, I also get that a “Wish Bone”, huh, huh).
In Western legend, two people were holding a “wishbone” forked two, their wish, and then to pull the respective directions wishbone snapped. Who is there to get big, who wishes will be realized. So make a wish bone is the Western tradition vow signs become popular in Europe and America fashion element.