With only 37 days left til Christmas, I’m sure all of you are looking at your gift list and thinking: how am I going to do it all in time? Have no fear, it’s bazaar season in Beijing! There are enough unique shopping experiences over the next 4 weeks to fulfill all of your gift requests for here and abroad.
Our full list of holiday bazaars can be found here, but do read on for my suggestions on the highlights of the season:
This Sunday from 11am-4pm, do not miss one of the best annual bazaars – The Gift at the Canadian International School. Chock full of crafts from various NGOs and featuring great food selections and entertainment for the kids, The Gift will entertain as well as let you check off bunches of names on your gift list. Knowing that 10% of all I spend there will be given to the six featured charities just sweetens the deal. Bonus! That puts me one more notch up on Santa’s good girl list.
Saturday November 26th will be a shopper’s heaven and epicurean delight with three major bazaars! Start the morning off at the German Embassy Bazaar — this bazaar is so popular, I have friends that queue up at 9am (2 hours prior to start time) to assure they get in (bring passports as they are necessary for admittance). The food and beverage is going to be seductive with curry sausages, gluhwein, gingerbread houses and even cold beer (remember its 5pm somewhere, so get a cold mug as soon as you walk in). Then of course you will find awesome German/Bavarian inspired holiday goodies to match the food and spirit! Be warned — 4,000 people turned out last year, so you’ll likely need to wait to get in.
After you have had some nummies and did some shopping, its time to quickly drive over to BCIS. Yes, BCIS (Beijing City International School) is hosting another fantastic holiday celebration bazaar. Santa will be on hand for your annual holiday family photo, as well as different children organizations singing seasonal, Christmas, and holiday carols. The venue will be packed with 60 vendors specializing in jewelry, handmade knits and boutique designers. There will be some great children activities as well — beijingkids will be on hand helping kids make Thumbprint Reindeer Christmas Cards.
Once you’ve had your fill at BCIS it’ll be time to head northeast towards Shunyi to the Western Academy of Beijing’s Parent Link Charity Bazaar. Now, WAB is where all of the shoppers who are serious about shopping will be! I lost count on how many vendors will be available — close to 100 is what I heard — to help you find that special one of a kind gem for your favorite uncle who has everything from here to Mars. You gotta come out and share the experience of shopping mayhem!! What’s even easier is the 12th graders are offering childcare for 100rmb with no time limit! What could be better? Big High School kids enthralling your little munchkins with games, activities, humor and more while you shop, look, smell and touch without worrying about which table your "little birdie" is crawling under.
If you want some of that good old fashioned Christmas feeling, come out on Saturday December 3 from 2pm to 8pm to the Hilton Beijing Christmas Train Bazaar. Start your day persuing the goodies on offer at their bazaar and stick around for one of Beijing’s Christmas traditions: the launching of the Hilton’s Christmas Train and the lighting of their Christmas tree. Kids and adults alike will swoon over their full-fledged model train display. You haven’t lost the magic yet, have you?
If you haven’t found the right gift yet, no need to worry (well, perhaps you should worry about those express air mail charges for overseas presents). The British School of Beijing (Sanlitun campus) is hosting their Christmas Fayre on Sunday Dec 4. Is there a better place to try mulled spice wine? Some delicious buttery shortbread cookies? How about mince pie? At the British School, you will be able to immerse yourself in holiday tradition as well as walk out with bags and bags of unique goodies to express the Christmas Spirit! I am so excited to go!
Last on my shopping list is The Hutong’s annual Winter Fayre on Sunday Dec 11. This fayre like no other, focuses on the handmade, unique cultural gifts, that only the rustic, warm, cozy Hutong can deliver. This quaint, but well attended event is for those really one-of-a-kind, handmade creations. Make sure you stop by, and see for yourself a Chinese Hutong all decked out for the holidays!
Remember folks, that’s not all – we’ve got even more choices in our events section here (and if we’ve forgotten any, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them!) All in all, you will be busy shopping, but make it interesting and fun for yourself. Go and shop local! And remember, don’t forget to buy yourself a special present, you deserve it!