• Christmas Shopping in Beijing
  • Dec 4, 2013
  • I have precious childhood memories of Christmas in the USA. Maybe I’m a bit sentimental, but during my first few years in China, December always felt like it was missing something.  In the USA Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. “Black”describes the traffic and crowds created by masses of Christmas shoppers. Stores, city streets and homes are elegantly decorated for the holiday. Church attendees are singing Christmas carols. Holiday music is playing in malls and restaurants. Kids are excited. It’s not the time of year most people want to leave the country. Yet, many of us have chosen to work and live in China, even in December. How do we handle it?


    It’s not as difficult as when I first came to China over fifteen years ago. Although I can’t be with relatives and friends back home, my nuclear family is here and in Beijing I can do almost everything I could do in America for the holiday season.

    The day after Thanksgiving, I pulled boxes of decorations out of the storage room and my whole family worked together setting up our Christmas tree (pictured right) and decking our apartment out for the holidays. My kids are practicing for a Christmas program in their school. And, my wife and I are buying gifts to put under the tree. Yes, we are shopping in Beijing, and the city really looks like Christmas!

    Stores, coffee shops, and some restaurants are adorned with Christmas trees, wreaths and snowflakes.  Taking a line from Silver Bells, “It’s Christmas time in the city.” There’s no need to feel homesick Christmas season. Signs of the holiday are everywhere in Beijing.

    Christmas activities are happening too. There’s the Gingerbread Academy for Children at the Beijing St. Regis December 8 from noon till 2:00 PM. On the city’s west side, the Haidian Church will host an English Christmas program December 13 and 14 at 7:00 PM. The Beijing International Christian Fellowship in Chaoyang invites everyone to join The Perfect Gift Christmas banquet Saturday December 7 at 7:00 PM at the Marriot North East Hotel, 200 RMB per ticket (events@bicf.org). And The Hutong will host The Christmas Fayre December 14 from 11:00 AM till 3:00 PM.

    Some of us are too busy to join all of these events, but we must find time for some shopping.  Beijing has no shortage of shopping malls, supermarkets and specialty shops. Golden Resources Mall on the city’s northwest side is the largest, although it’s not near a subway station. But there are plenty of excellent shopping venues located right on subway lines. For example, Joy City is only a two minute walk from the Xidan station. From the Baogou subway station, shoppers can exit directly into the basement level of a fairly new mall, and the lower level of Oriental Plaza can be accessed directly from the Wangfujin station.  Malls are everywhere, and most are adorned with Christmas decorations to make us feel right at home for the holiday season!