Busan It’s a little hard to tell that it’s Christmas in Korea. There were a few Christmas lights and Christmas trees in Ulsan, but if you wanted to see a lot of lights and feel the Christmas spirit, you had to go to Busan or Seoul. Kosin (pronounced koshin) University in Busan had their first Christmas Tree Festival where they had millions of lights around the Christian campus. Kosin University is on Yeongdo island in Busan. Take the subway to Nampodong, where the shopping street is filled with Christmas lights, and jump in a taxi and say Yeongdo, which is the name of the island, and then say Kosin taehakyo, which is the name of the university. You’ll be amazed!
Another way to celebrate Christmas in Korea is Santacon in Seoul. Apparently, Santacon happens in other major cities around the world. I had never heard of it until we moved to Korea. Hundreds of people dressed up in Santa Claus outfits and bar hopped all night. They even had a map of which bars they would go to and at an exact time. But with hundreds of Santas, there was no way that they would all stay together. It was definitely an experience and great to see everyone in the Christmas spirit.
But, the best way to celebrate Christmas in Korea is with the friends you’ve made to be almost like family. We went skiing at Yongpyong Resort in Gangwando province and had a little Christmas celebration of our own. It didn’t quite feel like Christmas until later because we had to catch a 3am bus from Busan to make the 5-hour trek to Yongpyong. We weren’t lucky to have a school that let us off on Christmas Eve. But the odd hours paid off. We received a 40 percent discount on the lift and ski rentals for that day! As we arrived, it definitely felt like Christmas with all of the snow and a few close friends to be around. Although, we missed opening gifts on Christmas morning, we had a nice Christmas dinner in the hostel and a Secret Santa gift party. Another plus to spending time with great people was that we got to see some of the scenes from the first Korean drama that we saw, Winter Sonata. The resort had pictures and cardboard cut outs of the famous drama everywhere, at the bottom and top of the mountain. We missed our families dearly but we’re thankful that we were able to celebrate Christmas with great people at a beautiful place.