This year will be our first Christmas in Seoul and, to be honest, we have no idea what to expect. Korea has a long history of traditions based on Korean Confucianism and Buddhism, and most of the public holidays and associated celebrations and rituals stem from this. On the other hand, well over half the population of South Korea are Christians and Christmas Day is also on the calendar of public holidays.
So whilst we are still figuring out the degree of difficulty involved in procuring tinsel (low, you practically trip over it in the streets), mint jelly (high-ish), and gravy powder (near impossible), one thing is abundantly clear - Seoul knows how to put up a Christmas light! It seems that almost every day we spy a new festive extravaganza going up in our neighbourhood, the streets of Myeong-dong are a veritable twinkling feast for the eyes.
And seeing as it's getting dark around 5pm these days, it's easy to enjoy the light show (provided you don't think too much about the cost and the waste and the environment...). Here's just a sampling of what's on show, my particular favourites are the mash ups - a hint of xmas cheer + a bit of happy new year + a healthy dose of bunny (if you're wandering how the bunny fits in, the next lunar year is the year of the rabbit, which should make for some very cute lunar new year souvenirs!).