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Feature Story

Celebrating Christmas – Hong Kong Style

Despite unprecedented times, Hong Kong embraces Christmas with revelry and festive celebrations. We give you a rundown of all the holiday highlights.
Thanks to measures taken by the government and a super-vigilant citizenry, Hong Kong has managed to limit the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, and the city remains largely open. As Christmas approaches, and notwithstanding certain social distancing measures, the city is determined to welcome and celebrate the winter holidays with festive spirits and gusto.
And the city celebrates Christmas like nowhere else in Asia, both spiritually and commercially. The prelude to Christmas in Hong Kong comes early each year, with yuletide decorations and lighting displays appearing in early November and spreading until the city is transformed into a winter wonderland – with high-rise buildings draped in colourful lights and shopping malls and public squares decked out in red, green and gold.
While the holiday itself has become more secular in cities across the world, morphing into an occasion to exchange gifts and take a well-deserved year-end party break, the city's substantial Christian community ensures that it is still a most religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Whatever Christmas means to you, Hong Kong is the perfect place to soak in the spirit of Christmas and enjoy all the festive activities and events the city has to offer. So, join in the Yuletide spirit and have a Merry, Merry, Christmas.
Christmas Markets
Picking out gifts and knick-knacks for family and friends at Christmas markets is always good fun. The city's large Western expatriate community and various church community groups do an excellent job of organising these homely events. While some events have been cancelled due to the pandemic , others are still taking place.
1. Christmas Market at Langham Hotel: The posh hotel is hosting a Christmas market selling local crafts. You can also pick-up a Heep Hong Society tote bag with all proceeds donated to help needed children and youths.
2 to 27 December, 12-8 pm (Saturdays and Sundays); The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
2. Christmas Market at the Landmark: The luxury mall in the heart of Central has transformed a section of the mall into a European-style Christmas market selling ornaments and treats, special edition Christmas goodies, sweets, pastries and wines.
Now till 31 December, 11am-8pm
Shop 308 and 312-314, 3/F, Landmark Atrium, Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central
3. Honi Honi Christmas Pop-up Market: This popular tiki lounge-bar is turned into a pop-up Christmas market for one day, with vendors selling homewares, candles, clothing, jewellery and more.
10 December, 10.30am-7.30pm; Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge, 3/F, Somptueux Central, 52, Wellington Street, Central
4. Treasure Island Christmas Market at Pui O Beach: Spend a relaxing day at the picturesque Pui O Beach and have loads of fun exploring the quaint Christmas market selling a plethora of food, presents and health products.
12-13 December, 11am to 5pm; Pui O Beach, Lantau
Christmas-themed Displays
Almost all shopping malls in Hong Kong will be decked out in eye-catching Christmas displays, some more extravagant than others. Collectively, they've become the gathering place for locals to engage in Christmas activities – everything from shopping, taking in the decorations and performances, taking selfies or pictures with Santa Claus, or just soaking in the atmosphere. This year's highlights include:
1. Harbour City: The eagerly anticipated Christmas display at the waterfront walkway connecting the giant shopping mall to the Star Ferry is always a top spot for holiday season Instagram pictures.
2. Heritage 1881: The Christmas decorations at the beautiful Heritage 1881 Mall are always worth visiting and make it one of the city’s hottest photo spots.
3. Pacific Place: This year, this ultra-luxury mall is home to Steamship Santa, complete with Nordic displays, a Christmas market and an elf workshop.
4. New Town Plaza Kissmas in Town: This large regional mall is creating a 1000-square-foot Covent Garden–inspired display to celebrate a white Christmas, London-style.
5. Lee Garden – Disneyland’s 15th Anniversary Magical Christmas Celebration: The Lee Garden Area will turn into the magic kingdom in celebration of Hong Kong Disneyland’s 15th anniversary. Be sure to meet Mickey, Minnie and their friends at three designated photo-spots.
Lights and More Lights
In a city already famous for its light displays on high-rise buildings, the Christmas period illuminates Hong Kong and its iconic harbour in one gigantic lighting extravaganza.
1. Statue Square: The lighting of the Christmas tree in Statue Square symbolises the arrival of Christmas in Hong Kong. Be sure to take plenty of pictures at this lighting wonderland.
2. East TST Harbourfront: Every year, the buildings on Tsim Sha Tsui East facing the harbour are lit up with colourful Christmas lighting displays visible from all around the harbour.
3. A Symphony of Lights: This iconic multimedia light show on the harbourfront will be the centrepiece of Hong Kong’s Christmas lighting spectacle. Nightly at 8pm.
Attractions and Performances
Hong Kong Disneyland: Celebrate Christmas at Hong Kong Disneyland and enjoy all its festive activities. This year, Disneyland celebrates its 15th anniversary in Hong Kong and unveils the opening of its remodelled castle – the Castle of Magic Dreams.
Ocean Park: Christmas Sensation at Ocean Park: Expect Hong Kong’s premier theme park to unveil a full slate of entertainment activities to celebrate Christmas. Check for full details.
AIA Vitality Park and the Observation Wheel: This socially distanced waterfront destination is perfect to check out the city’s bright Christmas lights. Ride on its Observation Wheel, ride a carousel, relax and dine at its socially distanced pods, or attend a wellness class.
The Nutcracker: This classic Christmas tale of Clara and her friends, performed by the Hong Kong Ballet, is back for ever-popular annual outing – perfect for kids and adults alike. 18-20 Dec (Fri-Sun), 22-27 Dec 2020 (Tue-Sun) 7.30pm; 19-20 Dec (Sat-Sun), 25-27 Dec 2020 (Fri-Sun) 2.30pm; Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong Philharmonic – A Viennese New Year: The perennial favourite to welcome in the New Year returns, with the Hong Kong Phil performing classic waltzes and timeless arias from famous composers. 30-31 December, 7pm; Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Church Services and Charity Giving
Christmas is, after all, the celebration of the birth of Christ. Most churches in Hong Kong will be holding mass or worship services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some noteworthy ones include St. John's Cathedral (Anglican) in Central, the Rosary Church (Catholic) in Tsim Sha Tsui, and St. Andrews's Church (Anglican) in Tsim Sha Tsui. All welcome visitors with open arms.
Finally, Christmas is a time for giving, so please share whatever you can for the needy of Hong Kong and around the world. In Hong Kong, the longstanding Operation Santa charity drive and the Salvation Army are both worthy recipients of your financial warmth. Give generously and Merry Christmas.
NOTE: Due to potential new social distancing measures as we go to press, certain scheduled events or programmes may be cancelled or amended. Please check to confirm before attending.


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