It’s the holidays! A time for reunions, decorations, family and gifts. But could you survive December without anything in your home “Made in China”? In Xmas Without China, the Jones family accepts this difficult challenge from filmmaker Tom Xia, which included losing their Christmas lights and their children’s toys. This sets the scene for an at-times tense though mostly gentle exploration of consumerism, identity and family from the perspective of both the Joneses and the Xia family, who are decorating their new dream house.
The documentary also explores Christmas from Tom’s perspective, who was born in China but raised in the US since age eight and who is celebrating his first real Christmas. As Tom gets closer with the Joneses and his family during the holidays, they continue to be reminded of America’s dependency of the world’s largest manufacturer, in addition to Tom’s divided loyalties to both China and the US. At one point, Tom mentions with a smile, “I always have to defend America when I’m in China. And I always have to defend China when I’m in America.” Through humor and intimate conversations about the dynamics of US-China relationships, the film documents the Jones family’s struggles with less material goods during the holidays. But both families learn how to “live with less” and about the important things that make the holiday season a special time of the year for all, including a little Santa magic.
Watch Xmas Without China on PBS online until December 26.
Xmas without China was produced by Alicia Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, Juli Vizza and Tom Xia.
Co-producers include ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media and Chicken and Egg Pictures.
Here’s the trailer: