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While the Christmas tradition is not normally associated with Chinese culture, our shrinking world has enabled Chinese folks to pick up on many Christmas traditions and weave them into their year-end celebrations. The closest thing to Santa Claus in Chinese lore and legend is a character called Nice Old Father and he endears himself to the youngsters by providing special gifts in colorful stockings that the children make and hang up for his approval. Instead of Western-style decorations like fir trees and wreaths, the Chinese holiday adornments tend toward Chinese lanterns and other light producing ornaments. The lanterns are hung to prepare for Christmas revelry, in which fireworks play a major part. Youngsters and their parents compete to see who can stage the most dramatic, most beautiful, and noisiest fireworks shows. Good eating and entertainment accompany the fireworks to round out the festivities And of course, Nice Old Father makes sure he's a prominent participant, dressed in his mandarin hat and shoes with the traditional, upturned toes and carrying his own Chinese lantern to light the way!
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