1. Go Skating and Meet Santa
Join us on December 16 for the annual beijingkids Santa on Ice event! There will be ice skating, seasonal treats, and of course, the big man himself. Santa Claus will be handing out gifts and taking pictures with families (portraits by Littleones Kids & Family Portrait Studio). Advance booking required. To buy tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5820 7700 ext 866. For full details, click here.
2. Catch a Christmas Show
It’s show time! December is a great month for seasonal entertainment. Catch classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas at The Bookworm on December 8, or see Beijing Playhouse’s holiday musical comedy Snow White from December 7-23 (pictured to the left). For something a bit different, watch the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Man of La Mancha (until January 20). For details, check out Events (p16).
3. Make Your Own Luminary
Winter doesn’t have to be dreary and grey; it can be festive and bright! Learn how to make a kid-friendly luminary that will bring a warm glow to your home and make a great decoration for any winter celebration. For step-by-step instructions, turn to p42.
4. Celebrate Christmas
Nothing says Christmas like a table groaning under the weight of roast turkey, glazed ham, mince pies, eggnog, pumpkie pie, trifle, Yule log, stuffing, and more. Whether your family tradition is to dine on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, there are plenty of celebrations happening around town for those who don’t feel like cooking. For ideas, see Dec 24 and 25 listings (p18).
5. Sip Hot Chocolate
Beijing’s most famous hot beverage has to be tea, but a traditional cup of hot cocoa still hits the spot like no other. Comptoirs de France serves a silky blend of chocolaty goodness that warms your belly and brings rosiness to your cheeks, while Café Godiva in Sanlitun offers cocoa in a variety of forms. Or, head to Jenny Lou’s for some Swiss Miss or Ghirardelli cocoa powder and make it at home.
6. Balance your Energy with Yoga
A new year is just around the corner, so now may be a good time to refocus and cleanse your mind and body of early winter sluggishness. Yoga Yard is hosting multiple workshops and classes this month, which range from purely mental exercises to more physically-oriented yoga sessions. For details, see Events (p16).
7. Snake Through Hutongs in Yonghegong
Put on a warm coat and get ready to shop, eat, and amble through winding hutongs in Yonghegong. You’ll see the magnificent Lama Temple, Confucian Temple (pictured here), Imperial College, and more. For a walking tour, turn to What’s Fun In (p34).
8. Give to Charity
Don’t be a Scrooge! Spread some seasonal cheer this holiday season by contributing to a worthy cause. New Life Centre, Care for Children, Half the Sky, morning tears, and the Dandelion School are just some of the notable organizations helping those in need. To find out how you can help, see Feature (p59).
9. Give it a Go on the Snow
What’s winter without some fun in the snow? Starting in mid-December, Badaling, Wanlong, Jundushan, Shijinglong, and the new Yulong Ski Resort will open for the season. Take a day trip out to the slopes for some sledding, skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling. Alternatively, find out where you can go ice skating on p53.
10. Dig Into Some Duck
It’s never a bad time to have duck when you’re living in Beijing, but winter is a particularly good time to savor this rich and fatty meat. Ducks have been roasted to golden perfection in this city for centuries, and the cold dry weather makes the steaming meal absolutely irresistible. For a list of the top five duck restaurants in Beijing, turn to Top 5 Foods (p27).
Photos: Nature Zhang, Courtesy of Beijing Playhouse, The Bloom Family Photography #3 and 6), Courtesy of Grand Millenium Beijing, stefg74 (Flickr), Sijia Chen, Courtesy of morning tears, RLHyde (Flickr), and Courtesy of Duck de Chine