For most people attending a Christmas gathering, they would expect nothing more than a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, piles of gifts and wonderful conversations with families and friends who they don’t see often during the year.
A Christmas party recently thrown at a private residence in Dunwoody, however, might haven’t surprised its guests by providing Karaoke and serving authentic Chinese food and dim sum from a well-renowned caterer in Atlanta Chinatown.
On December 13th, more than 80 people came to the Christmas party of National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA) hosted at its current Chair Lani Wong’s house. Dedicated to serving the local Chinese community and promoting US-China business and cultural exchange, the Atlanta chapter of NACA will be celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2015.
As the landscape of the country’s diversity evolves, the guests at NACA’s Christmas party also reflect the changes taking place in the Chinese community in Atlanta. Guests varied from senior management professionals in corporate America and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, to a first generation immigrant who has established his business flagship in biodegradable material industry, to students and a young working professional who just came to the United States for four months. Over the recent decades, more and more Chinese came to this country to pursue higher education or conduct business, with an awareness of honoring their cultural identity and taking advantage of the economic momentum of their country. In the “Salad Bowl”, a cultural concept replacing “melting pot”, new immigrants have benefited from recognizing their cultural heritage and sharing it with the broader community.
At this home far away from their own country, the Chinese guests enjoyed meeting friends within and outside of their community. They exchanged ideas of doing business in the country, advancing their careers, building a quality life, surviving graduate school, etc. “The older I became, the more I resonate with my roots, the Chinese culture”, said Danny Pian, a long time NACA member. Maybe this explains why you would find NACA members of 15 years still coming back to the gathering. For the non-Chinese guests, some of them found the party a great opportunity to gain information or establish further relationships with the country they conduct business with; others appreciate celebrating the traditional holiday with their Chinese spouse.
Toward the end of the evening all the guests gathered in the game room to participate in the gift drawing. Besides the presents given out from the “Chinese Santa”, we were able to recognize long stannding NACA members, welcome all the newcomers to Atlanta, thank dedicated community leaders present, recognize NACA Board members, congratulate Lesley (a 24 year old member who attributed the successful launching of his start-up to Lani Wong’s help), and identify the most handsome male guest present (identified as Al). This was truly a wonderful, fun, and very festive Christmas party as good as any party anywhere!
Because of the large number of new young members joining NACA expects to go into 2015 with a strong momentum (and we will also be looking for a successor to take over Al’s title).
English report by Lingman Guo 郭凌曼
Chinese report by Jiamu Chen 陈佳木