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 — you are in Shanghai.
Shanghai has evolved very fast over the last five years and when it comes to Western holidays and festivities, this city offers the best there is in Mainland China. Hitting the many 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.
Every December sees the famous Paulaner Bräuhaus Christmas market in the beer garden of the French Concession outlet.
So how does DeLois ensure that the Paulaner star shines the brightest? "We're selling Christmas wreaths and trees, which always gets people pretty excited about Christmas," 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 gluh-wine/ mulled wine 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. Head there to buy calendars, decorations, gifts, etc and lots of traditional christmassy eats and drinks.
Jingan Kerry Centre also joins the sleigh ride with their outdoor Christmas market. While this affair will probably be more geared towards children's entertainment, it is also known for featuring cool vendors year after year, selling goods that you may not get anywhere else. No admission fee.
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.
Merry Christmas and happy shopping!