Staying at Home with Kevin: A Korean Christmas Tradition
I asked my university students, "What are you doing for Christmas?" and the most common response my kids grumbled was, "Hmmph. Stay at home with Kevin."
"What does that mean?" I asked in my sort-of high-pitched teacher's voice.
"I don't want to talk about it," was the next most popular answer.
So I needed to figure out who the hell this "Kevin" was.
First things first, Korean Christmas isn't like the Christmas we know and love. Oh sure, there is still Santa Claus, gift-shopping a few Christmas trees, and a ton of blinking lights (but seizure-inducing bulbs are popular every day in Dynamic Korea).
The big difference is that Koreans celebrate Christmas more like Valentine's Day. In Korea, Christmas is for couples. You don't need to buy mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandmas and grandpas gifts. Just your current relationship partner.
But, if you're a solo flyer, you either get really drunk, stay at home, or do both at the same time (which are all also popular every day in Dynamic Korea).
Just as the States repeated plays "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Holiday Vacation," and "It's a Wonderful Life," Korea plays one Christmas movie on loop: Home Alone.
Q: "What's the name of the main character of Home Alone?
So "staying home with Kevin" means "sulk by yourself while watching an adorable pre-psycho Macaulay Culkin set traps for the Wet Burglars."
Oh Korea, you and your people are endlessly brilliant.