Waiting for Christmas in Hong Kong
Merry Christmas from Hong Kong
I jumped on the star ferry on the central pier of Hong Kong, splurging for the “expensive” ticket on the second floor of the ferry to Kowloon. As the ferry navigated forward on the choppy dark waves my eyes wandered back to the night skyline on the Hong Kong Island, so many buildings with Christmas lights, snowflakes, decorations and holiday greetings.
I was surprised about how many of the greetings were politically correct; instead of saying Merry Christmas, they had opted for Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and so on. Thankfully some of them still opted for the traditional Merry Christmas, while others just couldn’t make up their minds and blinked between Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings like some politically correct Schrödinger’s cat on Christmas Eve.
Some of the Christmas lights have opted for the politically correct Season's Greetings
We reached the Kowloon pier and I walked a few steps toward the Harbour City mall, instantly running into a huge Christmas setting in the tune of Toy Story. All of them were there, the three aliens, Woody, Rex and so on. And of course hundreds of people trying to get their photo taken in front of the decorations without any of the other hundred people getting into their photo; a quest which for me provided entertainment for quite a while.
Happy Holidays from Toy Story
The toy stroy set up was huge
Hong Kong loves its malls and the malls love Christmas, so all of them have huge Christmas settings inside or outside, depending on where they have managed to find enough space.
Obviously when you think of Christmas, Hong Kong isn’t high up on the list of places you immediately think of. I spent two weeks there in December constantly surrounded by Christmas decorations and other Christmas things, but it was only after I left it that I realized how much of it was actually there.
1881 Heritage Christmas decorations
Most of the malls put quite a lot of effort into the Christmas decorations
I have been following Cheryl’s blog (cherylhoward.com) and she has recently been busy posting about various Christmas markets in Europe. I’ve seen all those photos and kept thinking that damn I haven’t seen any Christmas markets this year! Then I realized the amount of Christmas that there is going on in Hong Kong, even if it wasn’t in the sense of a traditional Christmas markets. You can however think of Hong Kong as one huge modern Christmas market; one with less mulled wine (couldn’t find any, which is a shame).
Giant three meter tall Christmas tree build of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in front of a mall
And nobody took any of the chocolates, try doing that in Europe, I dare you!
Also as I finally reached my hometown of Jyväskylä in Finland; I walked around the town center, I was surprised to see how it didn’t seem as Christmassy as I had been expecting; an opinion which will probably get my Finnish citizenship terminated; this is the country of Santa Claus after all.
The lack of Christmas feeling has mostly to do with the lack of snow, which renders the town and the landscape into depressing grey. There really aren’t that much Christmas decorations, at least if you compare it to Hong Kong. Without snow, Finland just doesn’t seem as Christmassy as it should.
If you are Santa Clause you can smoke inside
The smoke actually was quite nice, made it smell very Christmassy
Now of course with Hong Kong, it could be argued that it’s all just about the commercial Christmas, an opinion which I wouldn’t argue with, but you know, in some cases it is enough. Christmas after all in my opinion is more about family and friends, not so much about the place (although snow definitely helps), in which case Hong Kong definitely has enough Christmas decorations to keep you interested for a while.
Also you can find all the Christmas decorations you might need to buy from the various market, and besides you might find some Christmas decorations nobody else has. Also if you go the flower market street you can even find actual Christmas trees and flowers!
Christmas decorations sold at the flower market
Some of the decorations look pretty traditional
You can find all sorts of Christmas decorations
You have various different kinds of christmas trees you can choose
You can buy the necessary Santa Claus outfits from the markets; together with the slightly more naughty Miss Santa costumes!
So if you are looking for some impressive Christmas decorations, getting into holiday spirit and doing some holiday shopping, you could definitely do a lot worse than Hong Kong. If you however are just looking for a traditional Christmas market, you might be better off heading somewhere in Europe.
What do you think is the best place to wait for Christmas?