Hong Kong has one of the world's most festive Christmases and celebrates Christmas perhaps the most grandly in all of East Asia. There is a two-day public holiday, and people usually enjoy dry, mild, and even sunny weather. See the fantastic Christmas displays, enjoy fine food, and Christmas shop. Here is information to help you enjoy the time when your visit with details on various events in 2016.
The American CNN television network named the Hong Kong WinterFest to be one of the Top 10 places to spend Christmas in the whole world.
You can see the Christmas lights on 40 buildings along the Victoria Harbor choreographed in a light show with Christmas and New Year's decorations. During WinterFest, most of the the city is aglow with festive lighting and laser imagery. Victoria Harbor is a dazzling sight especially when the fireworks bursts in the light show on New Years Eve. (See below.)
Disneyland hosts Christmas-themed amusement and entertainment starting before Thanksgiving and ending after New Year's Day. The performances highlights sparkling lights, and they present a new technology they call “Disney Paint the Night." Computerized floats with almost a million LED lights and optical fibers will be interactive with the spectators. The entire Main Street USA will be fantastically decorated. The performance starts at 6:30 pm daily.
The Nutcracker is a world-renowned operatic ballet and a special Yuletide tradition enjoyed by audiences of all ages. Set to a joyous score by the famed composer Tchaikovsky, this fairy tale ballet invites the young and old alike to rediscover Christmas.
The tale begins when a young girl named Clara receives a Nutcracker as a Christmas gift. The Nutcracker is transformed into the handsome Prince of Bonbon Land. The Hong Kong Ballet features sumptuous sets and costumes and live music by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Now there is jazzy 21st century choreography inspired by Terence Kohler in collaboration with Australian dramaturge Clair Sauran.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic presents a special A Magical Christmas with Harry Wong. They play selections of classic Christmas carols and exotic songs you probably have never heard. The Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestra is a professional orchestra sponsored by the HK government.
As part of the WinterFest, this high tech laser audiovisual display dazzles the crowds around the plaza of the clock tower near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui. Lasers light up the plaza and the adjacent building. It is astounding, but expect it to be crowded. It is attracting even more attention than the regular Symphony of Lights (see below).
Every night during the season, you can head to Victoria Harbor and watch the free holiday light show. The buildings get flashier and more colorful every year, and the added 3-D light show makes the Christmas season the best time to watch. Visitors sit along the shore at the pedestrian walk called Avenue of Stars, have a meal on a restaurant boat, or simply ride the Star Ferry during the Symphony of Lights display.
Loudspeakers broadcast music and the accompanying narrative. A lot of buildings put up special Christmas light displays to complement the visual effects of the architectural choreography.
If you're there on December 31, 2016, you can take in the fireworks spectacular in the New Year's countdown. Some of the same buildings involved in the Symphony of Lights take part in this spectacular, and large crowds line both sides of the harbor.
So far, either the IFC Towers or the Hong Kong Convention Center have been the center of the show. The buildings involved changes from year to year, but you can expect the display to be spectacular and accompanied by music, fireworks from barges, and a laser light show lighting up the atmosphere.
Every shopping mall dons Christmas decorations, and the ritziest malls put up spectacular and expensive displays to draw crowds. In the recent past, 1881 Heritage near the Star Ferry Terminal, Harbour City, Langham Place, Elements Mall and the IFC Mall put up dazzling, intricate and large displays.
1881 Heritage Royal Ice Palace: the ritzy hotel on Victoria Harbor builds grand themed decorations in its front plaza each year.
The annual best Christmas display: Every year, the best display is hosted at Statue Square by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. These are epic displays put up by the ritziest jewelry companies. Last year, BVLGARI was featured with a dazzling display. The Bank of China Tower skyscraper is a shiny mirror backdrop like a crystal. Dates: December 2 – December 31, 2016.
Unfortunately, unlike in other countries, there aren't pre-Christmas sales with lower prices to attract shoppers. Instead, during the Christmas to Chinese New Year winter shopping season, prices actually go up. However, the malls try to to attract customers through special Christmas displays, decorations, and entertainment. And the places to find bargains like the outdoor markets still try to compete on prices.
Christmas gifts on regular electronics, clothing, and other common items might be bought at the street markets such as Ladies Market in Mongkok (clothing, electronics, souvenirs, pets, jewelry, etc.) and Temple Street in Mongkok (a variety of products plus many open-air restaurants for Chinese food).
Hong Kong is known for having more excellent restaurants than any other similarly-sized location in Asia (as ranked by Michelin and other such ratings bodies). Many of the world-class 4-star and 5-star hotels in Hong Kong serve special Christmas dinners from about the 22nd of December until Christmas Day.
Hong Kong has about 63 Michelin-starred restaurants, and many are quite affordable for the average tourist although they might not have special Christmas fare. Check our list of recommended restaurants on our restaurant guide.
For a more Christian atmosphere for your Christmas celebration, a place to go is the Salisbury YMCA that might be the world's ritziest YMCA. It has two restaurants that serve buffets. Guests can also enjoy a great harbor view, and the extensive sports facilities include a swimming pool and rock-climbing room. Several churches meet there on Sundays, and there is a Christian bookstore.
Along with these big public events, churches, millions of local people, and many businesses, restaurants, and hotels celebrate Christmas as well. Many of the excellent restaurants and hotels have Christmas celebrations and special dinners that the locals attend.
In the days before Christmas and on Christmas Eve, groups of carolers from churches and schools go around and sing in the parks and malls. You might spot groups of children, teenagers, and adults walking in Central, Kowloon Park or elsewhere, joyously singing! Music groups and orchestras also put on free concerts.
The last half of December is an excellent time for touring in Hong Kong. The busy crowds of Chinese tourists don't arrive until Chinese New Year, and many foreigners visit during their Christmas and New Year holidays.
For your Christmas holidays, we can arrange a fine Christmas tour for you.
Or let us help you plan a personalized Hong Kong tour.
Free Christmas E-cards: China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards. You can send cards to your family or friends for free.