Guangzhou has been influenced by international contact, so Christmas is popular. The local Chinese generally enjoy the festivities and commercial aspects. Though it isn't a Mainland holiday and most people work on December 25 unless it falls on a weekend, some foreign embassies, consulates and Western companies have several days off to celebrate Christmas. Most people celebrate Christmas more as a time of get-together for couples or friends or to have parties instead of as a religious festival.
Guangzhou is the administrative capital of the Pearl River Delta region. The region exports more products than any other region in China. Foreign business people and merchants converge on the city from all over the world. Guangzhou has a large expat population, and they enjoy the holidays.
Department stores, shops and restaurants open as usual, and many of them prolong business hours till midnight and launch various promotions. Factories operate as usual. When in public places, be prepared for large crowds, and keep your belongings in a safe place.
China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. Check it out and send cards to your family or friends, for free.
4-star and 5-star hotels will launch special Christmas dinner or buffet, such as White Swan Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel and Westin Guangzhou. Many Western restaurants and bars will also offer Christmas meals. Reservation in advance is essential.
Christmas food, snacks, and candies are readily available in large department stores, supermarkets, and international chains. You might even find special sections for Christmas food with imported products.
Christmas and New Year's Day (January 1) are one of the busiest periods for shopping in China. During this time, shopping malls and department stores usually offer various promotions and sales and prolong business hours till midnight. In public places, be prepared for large crowds and keep an eye on your belongings as you rub shoulders through the crowds. See Guangzhou shopping guide page.
The first ever Christmas market is being sponsored by the hotel on its grounds. Foreign organizations are involved to make this a special shopping event and a fun experience for visitors. For children, there are plenty of booths selling holiday goodies and sweets as well as games to play.
Address: 12 Zhujiang West Road, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou广州富力君悦大酒店, 天河区珠江新城珠江西路12号
Tel: 86 20-83961234
Christmas ornaments can be easily found in many large supermarkets. For Christmas trees, you can go to Yide Road Market 一德路精品市场 (subway Line 2, get out at Haizhu Square Station 海珠广场站). The market also has numerous Christmas ornaments for sale. Another place to buy a Christmas tree is Lingnan Flower Market 岭南花卉市场 (57 Fangxing Road, Liwan District 荔湾区芳兴路57号).
Remember the true meaning of Christmas at a church in Guangzhou. Guangzhou has a large expat English-speaking church and Chinese churches. At the Chinese churches, there are Christmas choirs and activities on Christmas Eve and Mass or services on Christmas day. You can contact the church in advance for detailed times and schedules.
This is a large foreigner-only church. Local business people, tourists, and students gather for worship, fun, teaching, meals, and fellowship. It is conveniently close to the East Train Station in Tianhe. You'll find rousing singing and preaching. To prove you are a foreigner, you might be asked to show an ID.
Address: Guangzhou Hilton, 215 Linhe Xi Heng Road, Tianhe District
Built in the 1800s by the Emperor of France, it is one of the architectural highlights in Guangzhou City. It is one of the biggest Gothic churches in China.
Address: 333 Yide Road, Yuexiu District 越秀区一德路333号
It was built by some French missionaries in 1890.
Address:14 Shamian Road, Liwan District 荔湾区沙面大街14号
Address:29 Guangxiao Road, Yuexiu District 越秀区光孝路29号