Christmas is popular in Guangzhou. The local Chinese generally enjoy the festivities and commercial aspects. Christmas isn't a Mainland China 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 Guangzhouers celebrate Christmas more as a time for couples and friends to get together or to have parties, instead of as a religious festival.
About 100,000 foreigners live in Guangzhou for business, work, or study mainly, and they've helped make the festival popular. Guangzhou is the administrative capital of the Pearl River Delta region, and 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, and they enjoy the holidays.
Christmas and New Year's Day (January 1) are big shopping days. Department stores, shops and restaurants are open as usual, and many of them prolong business hours until midnight and launch various promotions. In public places, be prepared for large crowds and keep an eye on your belongings as you rub shoulders through the crowds.
For tourists and travelers, the favorite place for Christmas shopping is the Tianhe District from the scenic shore of the Pearl River and the brightly lit Zhujiang New City area of super-tall skyscrapers northwards to the conveniently located Guangzhou East Train Station.
Most of the malls that tourists most like is in this Tianhe area, and several convenient subway lines crisscross it. Malls such as TeeMall will be crowded and festooned with holiday shoppers. There is also a special Christmas market at the Grand Hyatt Regency in the Zhujiang area in December.
Good buys: Electronics, clothing, fashion, jade, and fine tea are things to consider. Chinese specialties such as quality Chinese green tea that is hard to find abroad make for light to carry and appreciated Christmas gifts. See Guangzhou shopping guide page.
Christmas ornaments can be easily found in many large supermarkets, for example:
4-star and 5-star hotels will usually host special Christmas dinners or buffets such as White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island, Westin Hotel in Tianhe, and the Four Seasons and the Grand Hyatt in the Zhujiang area. 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.
Eight cooking stations serve up food during the Christmas season event. Special Christmas food is served or available for takeout during this time.
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 ID.
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.
It was built by some French missionaries in 1890.
By the end of December, expect temperatures around 9°C or in the high 40s Fahrenheit. But it rains little at this time. You can feel comfortable wearing a jacket or overcoat.
Discover the best of Guangzhou with a China Highlights Guangzhou tour:.
For an even grander Christmas festival, experience Christmas in Hong Kong where there are big world-class events and entertainment. It is one of Hong Kong's main holidays. You can go to downtown Hong Kong in about three hours via high-speed train.
China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. Check it out and send cards to your family or friends for free.