Jocelyn Eikenburg sits with her husband's family in the Hangzhou countryside in December 2013. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
Editor's note: As Christmas is approaching, China Daily website invites readers to share their warm memories during this cold season.
In December 2013, I had to spend Christmas in the Hangzhou countryside with my husband's family, who never had the tradition to celebrate this holiday.
It was my first Christmas away from America in many years, and the loss felt palpable in this rural village, where there wasn't even a hint of the holidays. But in the end, I made a resolution -- if they could not bring Christmas to me, I would bring it to them.
My in-laws helped me look through their storage to find my old Christmas tree, which I had bought years ago in China. I was delighted to see the ornaments were still there and the string of lights even worked.
I pulled out my classic chocolate cake recipe, which had become a holiday tradition, and baked a wonderful dessert for the family -- a little crumbly, but still satisfying.
And on Christmas Day, I shared the spirit of giving by presenting relatives in the village with imported chocolates wrapped in festive gold foil.
Everyone in the family responded with such warm smiles, generating a Christmas glow all their own. It wasn't Christmas like I remembered, yet it was memorable all the same.