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Guest Thinkers

Santa Goes to China

Richard Goodman, a retiree from La Habra with a white beard and a red suit, ventures into a culture where most people know little about the jolly old elf and Christmas traditions.

Dressed in a velvety Santa suit and carrying a goody bag slung over his shoulder, Richard Goodman worked the international crowd at the Shenzhen, China, Crowne Plaza Hotel’s lobby cafe, handing out gingerbread cookies with a hearty “Merry Christmas.” The Western guests played along. The Chinese guests looked bewildered. “Xie xie,” a woman said, inspecting the cookies and saying thanks in Mandarin before asking her dinner companion, “What is it?”


Another guest wanted to know why only his children received the treats. “Where’s mine?” he asked.


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