Dear Ms. Wai – What to do for Spring Festival?

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Dear Ms. Wai,

The weather is getting colder which means holiday season is coming. I’m not worried about Christmas, my hubby and I have our own traditions, but I AM worried about what comes after Christmas…Spring Festival.

We always go back to my hubby’s hometown, a small village several hours away from any big city, where his grandma and older relatives live. While it has its charms it’s so boring for me now that I have gone there a few years in a row. Also, it’s located in the “south” but winter is still freezing. I have to wear my hat and coat 24 hours, even while eating meals and sitting around people’s houses talking. Also, while I get along with my in-laws I’m usually left out of most conversations because people speak the local language and I can only speak Mandarin.

So, I don’t mind going back there for a few days, but my hubby and his family insist on going for 10 days. Is it okay if I bow out early?

If you have to pack up and go, why not choose the destination?

I think most of us have experienced the same. What starts off as a cool cultural experience quickly turns into a monotonous experience after a few years of doing the same old thing. It’s totally okay to bow out early, but you are going to need a “face saving” excuse to leave the party early.

What is your job? If you are a public school teacher that will be hard as everyone knows that you have the holiday off, but maybe you can say you are picking up some hours at a training school and they need you? Or if you work for an international company maybe you can say there is an important meeting you have to be back for because foreigners don’t have Spring Festival, and you can’t miss it. Something that sounds legit enough to let you go without much of a fight.

Or, you can try something new for Spring Festival. Ever think of having the parents and grandma over to your place? Although that might turnout to be a bigger hassle then you bargained for, especially if everyone wants to stay in your house.

So how about suggesting a family trip? You say you like your in-laws and the trouble is the small village and the cold, not the family. So if you have the vacation time, and a little disposable income, why not use it? Chinese families are traveling more and more during Spring Festival and it’s becoming a popular trend to travel. After all, the holiday is about family, so location is less important.

So, if it is at all a possibility, why not suggest a warm getaway to Thailand or Vietnam or somewhere unique like that? You don’t need to book a week-long trekking trip, even a few days in a city where you can do some sightseeing and shopping should make everyone happy and you can get family time while still staying warm. Although be warned: hotels and air tickets during Spring Festival go up quite a bit so if you are thinking of this, book early!

Ms Wai

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