Don’t worry about everything being closed during the Christmas holidays. In Beijing everything's open. Cinemas, restaurants, shopping malls, it's a winter wonderland of options for travelers searching for holiday spirit in the Orient.
Christmas time and the New Year, is considered the peak season for shopping, and not just in the West. During Christmas and New Year, most department stores and shopping malls will launch promotions and prolong business hours. Be prepared for large crowds in public places and remember to keep your belongings in a safe place. Check out our Beijing shopping guide for more information.
Christmas Trees and Ornaments Shopping: Before Christmas, Christmas trees are usually available at flower markets. Christmas ornaments can be found in small goods markets and some large supermarkets. And it is worth checking out these markets, too:
It is the largest flower market in Northern China, offering wholesale, retail services and flower auctions. The market offers Christmas trees of every size and ornaments for customers to choose from.
Opened in 1992, Tianyi is the largest small goods wholesale market in Beijing. Retail markets are also available. It's commodities include clothing, daily necessities, kitchen ware, and stationery. Before Christmas, the market is swarming with customers who go shopping for Christmas trees, ornaments and other seasonal buys.
With a similar name, this market, which sports seasonal decorations year-round and has been nicknamed "Christmas Market" by expats living in Beijing, also offers plenty of knick-knacks and small gifts whether it be for Christmas or as souvenirs. Every floor has something different: electronics, nail polish and make up, clothes, house accessories, and lots of stationary. Located close to Houhai.
Hoping to capitalize on the holiday spirit, retailers and communities alike decorate the city in their Christmas best and lure you in with Christmas concerts, music and countless other events.
The Bookworm features readings and live music in the evening that link China to Christmas like never seen before for a cultural event. There is a Christmas-themed flea market on at the Bookworm (5th December 2015, 11am–5pm) if you want to get some present shopping done before the day.
For more active Christmas days for the entire family, check out the Bird's Nest, as the national stadium transforms to host the Ice and Snow Festival every year. This is a long-term event that runs from Mid-December until Mid-February, with ice-skating and themed winter fun for all ages.
There are also a bunch of Christmas bazaars every year, for example the one at the Hilton Hotel Beijing (28th November 2015, 6pm–8pm for the opening ceremony)
The bazaar at the German Embassy (28th November 2015, 11am–6pm) is extremely popular with foreigners living in Beijing as well as locals. If you plan to go to this Christmas market, do make sure that you bring your passport for security purposes as the market is on embassy grounds, and get there early as tickets sell out fast (RMB 100 per voucher, including discount vouchers to be used inside the market).
There is also the Hutong Winter Fayre (12th December 2015, 11am–4pm), which is also popular with visitors and foreigners living in Beijing. All of these will have the produce to make your Christmas atmospheric while away from home.
One of the local expat magazines also organizes their own Christmas market (12th December 2015, 11am–8pm) at the Grand Summit.
There are 11 churches in Beijing, among which six are Catholic and five are Protestant. There are activities, mostly choirs, on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. Christmas choirs usually start at 7 p.m. and last for 2 or 3 hours. It is advisable that you call the church in advance for more details. Below is a list of churches in Beijing.
Established in 1652, it is the first Catholic Church in Beiing.
Established in 1703, it is the location of Beijing Cardinal Bishop Office.
It is located near the foreign embassies area.
Chongwenmen Church of Beijing Christian Council was established in 1870, when it was called Asbury Church. It is the largest Christian church in Beijing, enjoying high prestige both at home and abroad. It has hosted countless big names like Former U.S. President George Bush, Bill Gates, and George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury.
If you'd rather go and listen to Handel's Messiah being sung by Beijing's very own and incredible International Festival Chorus, this is happening on 5th December 2015 at Harrow International School at 7.30pm. Tickets are RMB 180 or 280 depending on whether you want to be close to the action, and tickets are available at http://www.beijingifc.org/home/.
Get your fill of the Christmas spirit with the numerous Christmas buffets around the city. 4-star and 5-star hotels and upscale restaurants often offer the best in special Christmas Eve dinners, buffets and serves of all kinds, like Christmas turkey, ham, apple pie and even eggnog. Reservations are essential.
Warm things up during the chilly holiday season by hitting Beijing’s hottest slopes. Some of the best in Asia and gradually approaching world renowned status, slopes like Huaibei, Snow World and Nanshan Ski Resort offer winter fun for the whole family.
The ball drops in New York City, the Eiffel Tower gleams on a back drops of fireworks and now the excitement doesn’t end at the Great Wall in Beijing. This once a year gala includes dinner, dancing, and live jazz in the Schoolhouse Art Room.
Another great New Year's alternative is The Place in Beijing’s Financial District. Beijingers, Chinese out-of-towners and foreign tourists pack the square and countdown in unison. Free and open to the public, it’s an improvised, play-it-by-ear ceremony and ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. And that’s a good thing.
China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. Check them out and send cards to your family or friends, for free.
Are you ready to take your family on the Christmas holiday they will never forget? Book a tour with us, and we can arrange all of these festive activities into your itinerary. See our most popular Beijing and China tours: