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Hong Kong has one of the world's most festive Christmases. Hong Kong people celebrate 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 for Christmas.
It is a good time during tourist low season and mild weather to see the world's favorite tourist city (28 million visitors annually). See the fantastic Christmas displays, enjoy fine food, and shop for Christmas. Here are details on major events.
The American CNN television network named the Hong Kong WinterFest as one of the Top 10 places to spend Christmas in the whole world.
You can see the Christmas lights on dozens of buildings along Victoria Harbour 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 Harbour is a dazzling sight especially when the fireworks burst in the light show on New Year's Eve.
The Nutcracker is a world-renowned operatic ballet and a special Yuletide tradition enjoyed by audiences of all ages. It is set to a score by the famed composer Tchaikovsky.
The tale begins when a young girl named Clara receives a Nutcracker as a Christmas gift. The Hong Kong Ballet features sumptuous sets and costumes and live music by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. There is jazzy 21st century choreography inspired by Terence Kohler.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic presents a special A Harry Little Christmas with Harry Wong. 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 annually in and around the plaza of the clock tower near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Lasers tuned for 3D projection mapping play up pictures flying around the plaza and the adjacent buildings. It is astounding, but expect it to be crowded. It is much more popular than the regular Symphony of Lights. (2019 details to be announced)
Every night, you can head to Victoria Harbour and watch the free holiday light show of the Symphony of Lights. For Christmas, the entire show has been revamped and modernized. Many more lasers and LED screens make a bigger spectacle than ever before.
The best light show view is along the Avenue of Stars promenade where you can see the 3-D Pulse show too and hear the narrative and music from the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
You can also watch while having a meal on a restaurant boat or while simply riding the Star Ferry during the Symphony of Lights display.
Loudspeakers broadcast music and accompanying narrative. A lot of buildings display their own special Christmas light effects to complement the architectural choreography show.
Hong Kongers like to celebrate both the Western New Year and the Chinese New Year in a big way, so if you're there near midnight on December 31, 2019, you'll see the fireworks spectacular in the New Year's countdown. Some of the same buildings involved in the Symphony of Lights take part in this spectacle, and on Dec. 31, 2018, large crowds of about 36,000 lined both sides of the harbor to watch.
Read more about the New Year Fireworks and Countdown.
This is a new feature of WinterFest. It is a government sponsored luminescent art exhibit of lighted artworks of artists from many countries. It is on the Central Harbourfront and free to see.
Disneyland presents amusement and entertainment starting November to New Year's Day.
In 2018, as dusk falls, the theme park features “A Magical Twilight Snowfall” and the signature “A Holiday Wish-Come-True” Tree Lighting Ceremony. New in the park is a kiddies market called "Fantasy Gardens Wintertime Market" for buying gifts and treats.
Noah's Ark is an ideal place to take children for Christmas. It is innately child friendly, with traditional and novel Christmas activities. Nativity Scene performances are staged, as well as sports training weekends. For young girls, the park featured "Bear's Sushi Production Class" to learn creative dishes; and for boys, the park's sports/obstacle course arena featured "Trolltech Sports Training School."
Excellent Christmas-themed family buffets in their beautiful grand dining room at the bow of the ark overlooking the channel and enjoying the beach are other things to do to complete a fun day. The Ark building, a replica of Noah's Ark, sits on a good public beach with facilities.
Ocean Park officially kicks off the Ocean Park Christmas Sensation. The entire park is decked out with festive decorations such as a giant Christmas tree, artificial snow, and Santa's Cottage.
The park featured Hong Kong's only virtual reality (VR) roller coaster. The Christmas Market transformed Waterfront Plaza into a Christmas village for food and gifts.
Every shopping mall dons Christmas decorations, and the ritziest malls put up spectacular and expensive displays. 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: The ritzy hotel on Victoria Harbour builds grand themed decorations in its front plaza each year.
Statue Square 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 big jewelry companies such as BVLGARI. The Bank of China Tower skyscraper is a shiny crystal-like mirror backdrop.
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.
In many churches, they put on special Christmas-related programs. Churches and many Christians take Christmas seriously with big religious events, carol singing, and special performances. See the Top 5 English Speaking Churches in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, 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 and entertainment.
Christmas gifts of 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.).
Temple Street near the harbor is where you'll find a variety of products for tourists plus many open-air restaurants for Chinese food. See Christmas Shopping in Hong Kong in 2018.
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 74 Michelin-starred restaurants in 2018, 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. It has two restaurants that serve buffets. Several churches meet there on Sundays, and there is a Christian bookstore for gifts.
Hong Kong is the world's most popular tourist city. It is far ahead of London in terms of visitors and gets 10 million more visitors a year.
The last half of December is an excellent time for touring Hong Kong. The busy crowds of Chinese tourists don't arrive until Chinese New Year, and foreigners who visit during their Christmas and New Year holidays can enjoy the Christmas/WinterFest festivals and events in fairly mild sunny weather in December.
For your Christmas holidays, we can arrange a fine Hong Kong tour for you and help you tour the Mainland as well.
Or let us help you plan a tailor-made Hong Kong tour.
You can easily send Christmas cards to your family or friends (from China). China Highlights has designed some exquisite Christmas e-cards.