Deck the Halls: An American Christmas

We’ve mentioned that some American families will invite international students over to share in their Thanksgiving celebration. Well, the Shakespeare family in Bloomington, Indiana (who, full disclosure, are the parents of my good friend and colleague Rebecca) has a lovely tradition of inviting Indiana University international students over to share in their Christmas holiday as well.

Chun Guo, who studies information science at IU, very kindly volunteered to tell us about it. Marie Shakespeare sent over the pictures.

Chun Guo:

… I love the variety of courses that are offered here in my school, most of which are not currently taught in any of same kind of institution in China. It is also a great opportunity to experience a different culture. I quite enjoy the materials that are taught in class and the way the professors teach. I also had a lot of chances to explore American culture, for example, the Halloween celebration, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas decoration. It has been a wonderful experience.

Chun Guo hangs an ornament on the Christmas tree


In China, we don’t have the tradition of celebrating Christmas. So the celebration itself is uniquely American to me, so is the Christmas tree, the lighting, and the pendants on the tree …

I love the decorations that Americans have in their home during the Christmas season, which create a peaceful and festive atmosphere in the entire house …

… this is my first time to decorate a Christmas tree. I quite enjoyed this experience. I’m amazed at the number and variety of Christmas pendants my American friends have in their house. It took us a long time to put all of them onto the tree. They have several pendants which have small family pictures on them. Very sweet!

Fellow student Teja Koganti, who studies bioinformatics, also shared in the celebration…

Teja Koganti, who studies bioinformatics, also shared in the celebration


The food is also special. We had sausage rolls and beet salad. I’ve never had them before …

In China, we usually don’t eat desserts during or following meals. I love them. However, I don’t like the fact that I’m getting fatter because of eating them.

Chun and the Shakespeares aren’t the only ones in the holiday spirit.  Earlier this week, Sebastian wrote about waking up to Christmas season in Kansas. And stay tuned for a post by Senzeni about why she loves being an international student, even though it means she can’t be home for the holidays.