A tradition that I am able to continue this year even with the coronavirus pandemic, is going out for Korean barbecue on Christmas Eve in Charlotte, NC. This tradition started in 2018, the first time that I was uninvited to my in-laws Christmas gathering. Note: my husband is Caucasian while I am a Korean American, naturalized U.S. citizen. His sister’s family recently bought a big, brand new vacation house in Bluffton, SC. So that Christmas I invited my sole sibling, my single brother, to join us all in Bluffton. I really didn’t think it was a big deal, since my brother had met most of my husband’s family at our wedding and he is just one year older than me.

My older brother and I are also similar. I followed my brother in attending University of Illinois for undergrad, then copied him in getting an MBA and working for a bank. Coincidentally, the three of us – my brother, husband, and I all went to University of Illinois for undergrad and all three of us still work at a bank. That being said, in 2018 after my brother bought his flight to visit us, my husband’s family rescinded their invitation for Christmas at their new house in Bluffton. Regardless, there was no way that I was going to rescind my invite to my sole sibling. So on Christmas Eve we decided to go out for Korean barbecue in Charlotte. After finding out that one of my single mom friends had to work on Christmas Eve, we picked her up from her office to join us for brunch. In 2020, this is our second time being uninvited to family Christmas, and the third time going out to the same Korean BBQ place on Christmas Eve. My friend, husband and I are the steady constant; we are always the first in line - since we get there before it opens!

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