‘Tis the season of sharing, the season of giving, the season to find an excuse to indulge in pleasures that can only be truly appreciated during winter. Here are activities to try out, or make a tradition of, with your loved ones.
Lights, Lights, Lights
Malls such as Sanlitun Taikooli, Solana, Parkview Green, Indigo, and more will be transformed into a photographer’s heaven with fairy lights, trees, and decorations adorning open spaces. The malls have restaurants, cinemas (Finding Dory and Star Wars will be showing), and of course, shopping to while away the time. As well as serving up delicious Christmas Day lunches, the lobbies of many hotels such as the Hilton Beijing Capital Airport, Conrad Beijing, EAST hotel, and more will be transformed into winter wonderlands. Tuck in on the big day, or simply visit to buy a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine and relax to the Christmas muzak. For more information on dining out, see p30.
Fill the air with the sweet or savory smells of baked goodies or roast chicken after attending one of the cooking classes available at Kempinski Hotel Beijing by Roma and Kranzler’s restaurant chefs on December 12 (Christmas cookies) and 19 (Christmas dinner). The Hutong’s Winter Holiday Bakes classes will teach participants how to make pumpkin cookies, apple spice muffins, and gingerbreads (December 27). All through December, EAST Hotel’s Domain has a gingerbread do-it-yourself kit that can be ordered and assembled at home, under guidance by Chef Grace on Saturdays.
Markets, Fayres, and Bazaars
Shop, eat, drink, and raise money for worthy causes at the last remaining markets and fayres such as the Winter Fayre at Harrow Beijing (December 9), The Hutong (December 12), and the Kids Run Charity Bazaar at Dini’s Restaurant (December 13).
If going home or to an exotic location isn’t an option then sign the kids up to three, four, or five-day camps to keep them busy for a few hours and having fun doing creative activities. Atelier, Blue Bridge International, Imagine., Sports Beijing, and House of Knowledge International School and Kindergarten are all offering camps. Most have half day or full day options making them flexible enough so kids can try out more than one.
Choirs, Concerts, and Ballet
You won’t find door-to-door caroling here in Beijing but there are numerous concerts at schools, hotels, and concert halls. The German Choir Beijing (Deutsche Kantorei Peking), the Madrigal Choir Beijing, and the Bach Orchestra team up to perform the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach at the German Embassy School, The Canadian International School of Beijing, and Kempinski Hotel Beijing on December 6, 12, and 13. The Egg, officially known as the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA), has concerts all month long featuring NCPA’s Chorus (December 24), NCPA World Classic Opera Gala (December 25) and Beijing Symphony Orchestra’s Happy New Year on December 20. Tickets can be bought on damai.cn. Kiev Ballet bring Swan Lake to the Great Hall of the People on December 30. Pick up a tune to hum for the rest of the holidays.
Beijing has eight Catholic churches; the Eastern Church (Wangfujing Catholic Church), Western Church (Xizhimen Church), Southern Church (Xuanwumen Catholic Church), Northern Church (Xishiku Catholic Church), St. Michael’s Church, Nangangzi Church, Pingfang Church, and Dongguantou Church. Christmas Eve mass is usually early in the evening while Christmas
day has morning and evening options to attend.
Other Christian expat churches such as the Beijing International Christian
Fellowship (Liangmaqiao, Wudaokou), River of Grace (Wangjing), Capital
Community Church (Shunyi), will also be holding services.
On December 13, to celebrate the eighth night of Hanukkah, attend the annual giant Menorah lighting on the roof of Bet Yaakov Chabad House.
Ice festivals such as the Longqi Gorge and Yuyuantan Park Ice and Snow Festival all begin in January and dates aren’t released until later on in December but these are the two places to enjoy seeing the ice sculptures on a much smaller scale than Harbin, and in far closer locations.
Skiing and Snowboarding
The season for outdoors skiing and snowboarding is here and Beijing has numerous locations to try such as Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort, Beijing Xueshijie Ski Resort, Nanshan Ski Resort, Beijing Yuyang Ski Resort, Jundushan Ski Resort, and more. Many locations won’t have English-speaking instructors, but will have a good selection of rentable gear for both kids and adults. Many of the resorts are an hour’s drive or more outside the city, making the slopes a good option for weekend getaways. For more information on winter sports see p54
For details on all businesses listed, please see our online directories at www.beijing-kids.com/directory.
For detailed event information see www.beijing-kids.com/events
Photos: courtesy of Infomasten, Othalan, Roanokecollege and Andrewmalone (Flickr)
This article originally appeared on page 32-33 of the beijingkids December 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com