1 The Tree
Hate vacuuming up pine needles every time someone brushes against the Christmas tree? Pick up a tasteful faux tree from Wal-Mart, Ikea or Carrefour. If you can’t imagine Christmas without that green giant, make a trip to Pinnacle Plaza or Beidong Floriculture Garden in Shunyi. Downtowners can head to Liangma or Laitai Flower Markets. See Directory for listings.
2 The Decorations
It just wouldn’t be the festive season without a huge supply of sparkly lights, wrapping paper, tinsel and Christmas tree baubles. Our favorite stockists include one-stop-shop Ikea for their range of candles, wrapping paper and decorations. On the fourth floor of Yashow Clothing Market you’ll find a collection of cards, fairy lights and decorations. And for everything in between, check out Nüren Jie (Ladies Street) near the US Embassy, Wal-Mart, Laitai and Liangma Flower Markets. See Directory for listings.
3 The Roast
Take the hassle out of your Christmas by getting Chef Too to do all the cooking for you. For approximately RMB 120 per person, you will get a turkey, every side dish imaginable and a range of yummy desserts. For more Downtown dining options, see Events (p16). Shunyi-siders can check out Smallville, Michael’s Place or Café Lakeside for their range of Christmas dinners. The die-hard cooks among us, can pick up their bird of choice from April Gourmet or Carrefour. See Directory for listings.
4 The Gingerbread House
Comptoirs de France has a selection of beautiful and delectable Christmas treats including gingerbread houses, Italian panettone, Yule logs, and the piece de resistance – their massive chocolate Santas (70cm, 3kg). If you’re into DIY, make a trip to Ikea and pick up a gingerbread house kit from their small supermarket. The pieces are pre-cut so all you need to do is stick them together using frosting. The Hilton Beijing will be selling gingerbread houses from their lobby (RMB 180 per kilo) as well as Christmas hampers (starting from RMB 388). For details, call the Hilton Beijing’s Christmas hotline at 5865 5865. See Directory for listings.
5 The Flora
Brighten up your home with a few pots of fire-engine-red poinsettias. This traditional Christmas flower also makes for a great gift. Simple floral displays not enough to signal your festive cheer? Hang a stunning wreath on your front door, or anywhere in the house for that matter. As an added bonus, making a wreath is a fun and easy Christmas craft for the kids. Pick up your wreath supplies from Ikea or Laitai and Liangma Flower Markets. See Directory for listings.
6 The Ice Skating
Whether you can twirl or you’re more likely to tumble, ice skating is the perfect festive sport come Christmas time. Lace up your skates and hit the ice on Houhai Lake where you can find skate rentals, as well as ice bikes for the adventurous. For a warmer experience, head indoors to Ice Zone in Shunyi, Le Cool in Guomao or All Star Champion Skating Club in Solana. See Directory for listings.
7 The Christmas Mass
For Christmas Mass, visit Capital Community Church at Beijing Arts Exhibition Center in Shunyi. Alternatively, Beijing International Christian Fellowship (BICF) will hold a Protestant service. The River of Grace Church will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service on December 24 at 7pm. All services will be conducted in English and are for foreign passport holders only. Contact organizers for details.
Capital Community Church, Beijing Arts Exhibition Center, 1A Shunhuang Lu (north of Beijing Riviera), Chaoyang District (8046 2716) www.capitalcommunitychurch.org
Beijing International Christian Fellowship: 1) Room FA 201, 2/F, 21st Century Theater, Chaoyang District (8454 3468, email@example.com); 2) Building C (Basement) Raycom Info Tech Park, Haidian District (8286 2813, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.bicf.org
River of Grace Church, 2/F, Great Hotel, 1 Zuojiazhuang, Chaoyang District (6466 1680, email@example.com) www.theriverofgrace.com
8 The Egg Nog
Ditch the store-bought and go homemade. Find the ingredients at any foreign supermarket, including Jenny Lou’s and April Gourmet.
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups milk
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon
Add the ingredients together in an electric blender. Blend until smooth and serve chilled. For an extra kick, adults can add a splash of rum or bourbon.
9 The Jolly Man
Thanks to the China Trade Commission, children can receive a free call from Santa Claus in English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian or French. E-mail your child’s name, age and special message to MeetSantaClaus@gmail.com. The first registered 3,000 boys and girls (ages 3-7) will receive a call from Santa before receiving an e-mail confirmation about where to meet Mr. Claus in person in mid-December. Calls are made from 6-10pm until December 23 and visits are held at one of seven designated spots in Chaoyang, Haidian and Wangjing Districts. For details, call 8255 1638. To find out where else Saint Nick will be making an appearance this year, see Events (p14).
10 The Cheer
Beijing may not have a giant tree akin to New York City’s Rockefeller extravaganza, but there are still plenty of opportunities to see those twinkling lights. To see a decked-out Christmas tree, head to Beijing Marriott Northeast, Legendale Hotel Beijing, Hilton Beijing or Kempinski Hotel Beijing. For an extra-special treat, Hilton Beijing also has a Christmas train chugging through a festive miniature town. Alternatively, stroll through Sanlitun Village South, Solana, Pacific Century Place or Pinnacle Plaza to soak up some of that Christmas atmosphere. See Directory For listings.