5 Christmas Traditions in Hong Kong (For Visitors)

Christmas in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong certainly isn't a traditional Christmas destination for American tourists, but nonetheless, the holiday is energetically celebrated by the city. In fact, Christmas Day itself is actually called "Boxing Day" in Hong Kong, where instead of staying home with your loved ones, families shop, eat at restaurants, and attend festivities and attractions as a seasonal celebration. And while there's no snow, you'll find plenty of festive spirit—lights strung across skyscrapers, turkey on every menu, and the song "White Christmas" booming from the city's speaker.

If you find yourself wrapped up in the Chinese holiday hubbub, check out the insider track on Christmas events in Hong Kong.

Attend Winterfest

At the heart of Hong Kong's holiday celebrations lies Winterfest. This elaborate takeover of Statue Square is organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and features a towering Christmas tree, Santa's grotto, and a choir belting out Christmas carols. Winterfest runs the whole month of December and culminates with a Symphony of Lights and fireworks display to usher in the New Year. Admission is free.

See the Theme Park and Museum Displays

Both Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park deck the halls by lining their venues with trees, lights, and fake snow. Expect Santa to make an appearance at both places, complete with his entourage of reindeers and elves. And while Ocean Park is the go-to theme park for Hong Kong locals, it's safe to say Disneyland steals the show around Christmas time. Main Street is decked to the nines with Christmas lights and gingerbread houses. And Mickey and friends strut their stuff in holiday-themed parades throughout December.

 

Madame Tussauds wax museum (a replica of the famous London attraction) breaks out the baubles with a tip-top Christmas redecoration. Here, you'll find elves handing out presents and maybe even score a visit from the big man himself.

Experience Noah's Ark

Take a step back in time by visiting a giant replica of the Old Testament's Noah's Ark. At this Hong Kong landmark, you'll experience staged nativity performances, circus acts, traditional pantos by the Hong Kong Players, and a fantastic lineup of comedians. Stroll through the Happy Little Santa Claus Village or participate in the Merry BEARathon, complete with bear building workshops and sushi bear cooking classes. Hong Kong goes all out at this Christmas venue.

Eat Christmas Dinner at The Peninsula

If you’re visiting Hong Kong at Christmastime, chances are you don't have accessibility to a kitchen to cook yourself a turkey with all the trimmings. Don't fret. Hong Kong's hotels and restaurants lay out a worthy holiday spread. At The Peninsula, you'll be greeted with a life-sized gingerbread house in The Lobby restaurant. The Lobby also hosts a Christmas afternoon tea and a full sit-down, multi-course dinner. Or, head into the hotel's Verandah restaurant to feast on a Christmas lunch or dinner buffet that includes traditional American offerings as well as Asian fare.

Go Christmas Shopping in Mongkok

Shopping—like it or not—is an essential part of the Christmas routine. Luckily, Hong Kong takes the pain away from the non-shoppers by offering plenty to do and see while perusing independent boutiques and locally-made crafts. At the vibrant and authentic street markets of Mongkok, you'll find toy collectibles, high fashion knockoffs, sneakers, and even goldfish (in all colors and sizes). The crowds of people and the display of independent stalls are sure to coax family members out of boredom while you shop for souvenirs.