10 Great Things to Do in January and February
1 A tbjkids Snow Day
If the effort to organize a ski trip for you and your family is putting you off from heading to the slopes this winter, fear not! Join tbjkids for a trip with other Beijing families to Nanshan Village ski resort on January 20. The price includes transport to and from the park, breakfast, lunch and equipment rental. To partake in this exciting day of snow-filled fun, contact Nancy Ding at 5820 7700 ext 853, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so please book in advance. RMB 400.
2 Throw a Hot Pot Party
Nothing works better when the temperature drops than a delicious hot pot meal to get the blood boiling. Thinly shaved cuts of meat that melt in the mouth, fresh vegetables and delectable tofu simmering in a tasty broth – yum! There are numerous hot pot joints scattered across Beijing, but on those days when it’s just too darn cold to step outside, why not try having your own hot pot at home? For the full DIY hot pot experience, check out our “Steaming Up with Hot Pot” feature. We’ll guide you through the different regional variations and how to select the best ingredients for your meal. Get the family together for a meal to bond over, or invite all your friends for a hot pot extravaganza!
3 Dine Out with the Family
Crammed into January and February’s double issue of tbjkids you’ll find a 45-page guide to the some of Beijing’s finest family-friendly restaurants. Our army of reviewers and photographers tested every one of the 101 restaurants featured against a common set of criteria. Looking for a smoke-free place to eat with parking, kid-friendly menu options, a play area and high-chairs? tbjkids has the answer! With this indispensable guide at your fingertips, you don’t have to be afraid of heading out with the family and treating the taste buds to something new.
4 Get a Museum or Park Pass
If you’re in need of broadening your cultural horizons in the coming year, a 2008 Museum or Park Pass is the answer. A museum pass gets you access to a whopping 98 museums throughout Beijing for only RMB 80! A yearly park pass, which grants access to 11 major parks in Beijing – Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Zhongshan Park, Beihai Park, Jingshan Park, Taoranting Park, Beijing Zoo, Xiangshan Park, Beijing Botanical Garden, Yuyuantan Park and Zizhuyuan Park – is slightly more expensive at RMB 200, but for access to the more scenic areas of the city, the money will be well spent. Tickets can be purchased at any of the participating parks from December 15 to January 15. Bring a passport, photo and cash.
5 Give a Hongbao
Every Chinese kid knows exactly what to expect from the Spring Festival: those lucky red envelopes stuffed with crisp, clean 100 kuai bills. Hongbao, like so many other things associated with the lunar New Year, are rich in symbolic meaning. Hong, or red, is considered the luckiest color in Chinese culture, and bao means “purse” or “pouch.” When giving a hongbao, be sure that the total value of cash inside is of an even number, as odd numbers are associated with the money given to people at funerals. Gongxi facai!
6 Make Jiaozi
Dumplings, or jiaozi, are the most delicious treat of the Spring Festival. The symbolic meaning comes from their shape: The pouch-like parcels resemble yuanbao, or “money purses,” and therefore eating jiaozi is said to bring hope for a prosperous New Year. Though fun to make, they require nimble fingers and a soft touch. For simple yet beautiful examples of the different varieties of dumplings that can be crafted, go to Din Tai Fung.
7 Check out the Fireworks
If this is your first time in Beijing during February, you may not know just how loud the fireworks for the Spring Festival celebrations will be. For those who have experienced this period of pandemonium before, you know well to prepare for the sky to be lit up by streaks of red, green and white for a seemingly endless week, and a continuous bombardment of noise as every inch of sidewalk is covered with shards of paper from spent firecrackers. Remember: Fireworks are only permitted within the Fifth Ring Road for the duration of the Spring Festival, and safety is of the utmost importance, especially for young children and pets! Make sure you don’t spoil the festivities with a trip to the emergency room. Check out www.berr.gov.uk/fireworks/public.htm for advice on how to have a worry-free week with fireworks.
8 Spring Cleaning
Welcome spring by spreading flowers and fruits around the house. Hang colorful Chunjie pictures (nian hua’r) on the walls, and learn all about New Year preparations at the Chinese Culture Club, where lessons on writing “Spring Couplets” (chun lian’r) are being offered. These short poems written in classical Chinese are expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year. Written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper, they are hung on walls or doors. RMB 100. Jan 19, 2.30-4.30pm. Call 6432 9341 for more information. Chinese Culture Club www.chinesecultureclub.org
9 Temple Fairs around Beijing
Going to a temple fair is one of the most important traditions of Spring Festival. Though often held in a temple, the fairs are less religious than they are cultural and entertaining. Many local artists will display their traditional arts and crafts. Beijing opera will be performed, along with lion dancing, kung fu and other acrobatics. And who can forget all the yummy xiaochi from Beijing and other regions of China that will be served? Join the locals by celebrating the Chinese New Year in a real Beijing way. The most popular temple fairs are held at Longtan Park, Ditan Park, Daguanyuan Park, Baiyunguan Taoist Temple, Dongyue Taoist Temple, Hongluosi Temple, Chaoyang Park and Lotus Park.
10 Futsal Action
ClubFootball has now launched futsal courses to complement its network of coaching academies, offering the boys and girls of Beijing an opportunity to play football this winter. The courses are taught by professional FA-qualified coaches using proven methods to develop skills. New Futsal courses kick-off in January and will be held at ISB, BSB and YCIS for boys and girls aged 4-18. Sign up now for a course in your area. Courses now follow the Kickerz program, which centers on age-specific development.