Being the only European in our room, I simply couldn’t resist bringing some of home’s traditional christmas spirit to LPC’s 3/203. Earlier this week, after we had re-arranged our room and were slightly intimidated by its new size, Catherine and I took the MTR to Ma On Shan to buy a christmas tree for the middle of our room. In Hong Kong, even though real firs from the US and Scandinavia are available, most families only use plastic christmas trees. This is obviously not the most environmentally friendly solution, but real firs are expensive and quickly sold out; and artificial christmas trees are mostly produced in Hong Kong and its surrounding countries, like Taiwan, so they are much cheaper. Catherine and me bought a six feet tall plastic fir. It was green (that is not a standard here; you can also get them in all other colors, glittery and plain, silver and golden); and actually looks a bit like a real one. There are even “young twigs” which are longer and of a lighter green than the rest of the tree! The tree was packed into a big carton box for us and we carried it back to college through the pouring rain.
In the room, we opened the box and took out the single parts of the christmas tree. I was very puzzled about how to stick the pieces together, and my roommates – all from Hong Kong or Bhutan – laughed at me. “Why, have you never built up a christmas tree?” I stared at them. “Uhm, no, at home we go into the woods and get our own one. We pack it onto the car and bring it back home. There is no sticking-the-tree-together. Have you never had a real christmas tree at home?” Their looks were clearly a “no”, and the amazement switched sides. In the end, half an hour and lots of single plastic packages later, we had built up the tree in the middle of the room. We hung paper snowflakes and golden balls onto it and swept the floor – after all, the fact that the tree was of plastic didn’t seem to prevent it from loosing it’s fir needles. It looks absolutely beautiful and we will keep it till the christmas holidays. Of course, to be as environmentally friendly as possible, we won’t through it away afterwards, but pass it on to the next LPC generation, so that the tree can be re-used over the years. Merry Christmas!