Curl your hands around a cup of lightly spiced mulled wine. Hum along to the Christmas carols twinkling their bells and breathe in the sweet scent of gingerbread while scouring the stalls for gifts and seasonal memorabilia. No, you're not at a European Christmas market. Yes, you are in Shanghai.
If you've been in Shanghai for a long time, then you'll know how difficult it is to find decent Christmas cards and any form of wrapping paper. If this is your first Christmas in Shanghai, I promise you that it is very difficult to find decent Christmas cards and any form of wrapping paper. Hitting the Christmas markets is the best way to find original, high quality items and whichever weekend you choose between now and the big day, you're sure to find one of them around town.
This December sees the sixth year of the famous Paulaner Bräuhaus Christmas market in the beer garden of the French Concession outlet. "People should come to get a real European experience of Christmas in Shanghai" says Jacob Hayes DeLois, marketing director of the event. "I think it can be difficult to find. What we want people to take away from this is the experience of the traditional winter customs from Europe."
So how does DeLois ensure that the Paulaner star shines the brightest? "We're selling Christmas wreaths and trees, which is pretty rare and people will be pretty excited about that," assures DeLois. "We're also selling glass Christmas tree ornaments and wooden toys." There will also be an impressive tree and a wooden train set for the kids to toot along to.
With the bite that's now in the air, you'll definitely need energy to keep you shopping and the markets have their share of traditional treats. DeLois promises traditional German pretzels and bratwurst sausages, as well as Stollen, plenty of gluggwine and of course, gingerbread. I'm sure you’ll bag a box of mince pies along the way too.
Dust off your Christmas stocking and find your embarrassing chunky-knit-reindeer-clad jumper. Jingle into the festive spirit and experience an authentic Christmas market.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Pudong Century Park claims their Christmas Village is the best market and their top selling point is the Chalet Style stalls selling unique gifts.
The Kerry Hotel also joins the sleigh ride with their single day bazaar. While this affair will probably be void of an authentic Christmas atmosphere, it is sure to have top quality items that the centre is renowned for.
No need to worry about last minute wrapping on Christmas eve – if you bring your presents along, Paper Tiger Shanghai are bringing along their "fine Chinese paper and designs" and providing a beautifully unique gift wrapping service.
You can also find Christmas celebrations at Shanghai's top international schools.
The Paulaner Bräuhaus Christmas market runs from Friday 7th – Sunday 9th December.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Pudong Century Park Christmas market runs from Friday 16th to Sunday December 16th
The Kerry Hotel Bazaar is on 24th November 2012
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