The holidays are upon us again and before you grab that journal to jot down your new year’s resolutions, you need to get your loved ones gifts. Thinking of gifts is usually stressful since you probably have already given them most of their favorite things, sneaked in one of yours so they can give the gift back to you (I am not saying I have ever done this), or they already have all they could possibly want. The perk of living in Beijing is the numerous available bazaars, fayres, and markets.
With free entries to most bazaars and changing vendors every year, a great gift is only a brisk browse away. But to avoid market-shell-shock you need a game plan on how to best maximize a visit to the bazaar. Here are three tips:
1. Plan: Decide which bazaars and when. Generally, I find its best one hour after opening time and before the afternoon rush. Most vendors are settled and ready to explain the product and service so you’ll get a better idea of the value.
2. Recon: Briefly walkthrough the floor plan and see what is on sale, where the amenities are, and keep a mental list (or quick photo list) of what to come back to. Once you have done a lap, jot down your top five favorites plus five in case your favorites are beyond budget.
3. Eat Before Shopping: There are sure to be a few food stalls where you can grab something light to eat but unless it’s a food event then best to have eaten something small beforehand, especially if you get “hangry” (irritable from hunger).
Roundabout Holiday Bazaar, Nov 14
All ages. Kicking off the spending spree is Roundabout’s bazaar to help raise funds for their numerous charitable causes. There will be vendors selling high end products and other offering services you can sign up for. Free. 11am-4pm. Marriot Northeast (137 1877 7761 (English), 137 1805 3814 (Chinese)).
BSB Shunyi Christmas Fayre & German Market, Nov 19
All ages. Come and celebrate the festive seasons at BSB, Shunyi with a traditional German Christmas market organized by the Parents Association. There will be live performances from the school’s choirs and orchestras. Also available will be a photo op with Santa, various vendors, games, and activities. Free. 4-8pm. The British School of Beijing, Shunyi (8047 3588, www.bsbshunyi.com)
3e Annual Charity Christmas Bazaar, Nov 26
All ages. The 3e Annual Charity Christmas Bazaar is a place to enjoy holiday feasting and bargain gift shopping. Free. 10am-noon.3e International School (6437 3344, email@example.com)
German Christmas Charity Bazaar, Nov 26
All ages. This packed bazaar is a good chance to experience German food, buy Christmas presents, and enjoy some choral music. Pre-sale tickets are available and limited on site tickets. There are red, blue, and yellow tickets valid from morning, afternoon, and kids under 14 years respectively. Pre-sale tickets are available at the German Embassy School (9.15am-1pm), Beijing Riviera Clubhouse (9am-7pm), U Coffee on Xindong Lu (10am-6pm). Valid identification required at the gate. RMB 100 (adults), RMB 25 (kids). 11am-6pm. German Embassy Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Very Gift Bazaar Christmas Market, Nov 27
All ages. Enjoy pippin’ hot cocoa or mulled wine while browsing for a gift for a loved one. Free. 10am-4pm. Café Zarah (8403 9807, email@example.com)
BCIS and MCF Christmas Charity Bazaar, Dec 3
All ages. This joint bazaar between BCIS and Migrants Children’s Family is a fundraising event for MCF that features live performances, shopping, food, and mingling with friends and the wider BCIS and MCF community at the main BCIS campus. Free. 11am-3pm. Beijing City International School (Zhuofei.firstname.lastname@example.org)
WAB Charity Bazaar, Dec 3
All ages. The Western Academy of Beijing’s Charity Bazaar features hundreds of vendors offering homemade gifts, holiday food and drink, and dozens of unique items for sale. Proceeds from the event will go to assist several charity organizations, including the Chi Heng Foundation, supporting HIV-affected children in rural China through education. Free. 10am-3.30pm. Western Academy of Beijing (5986 5588, email@example.com)
Hilton Beijing Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony & Charity Bazaar, Dec 3
All ages. Hilton Beijing once again celebrates the holidays with its Traditional European Christmas Train & Village from December 3 to January 2017. The Christmas Village features a Giant Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and a children’s chorus from 5.50-6.30pm. There will also be over 70 bazaar booths (2-8pm) with all proceeds from sales going to support the Morning Tears Organization. Free. 2-8pm. Hilton Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Hutong Winter Fayre, Dec 10
All ages. This fayre brings food and artisanal products to the hutongs for a spot of shopping. There a wide selection of different goods on sale. (159 0104 6127, email@example.com)
A Dulwich Christmas, Dec 13
All ages. Join in DCB’s annual Christmas time festivities that features Christmas themed gifts and trinkets on sale, Christmas foods including carved turkey, smoked ham, minced pie, fruit cake, apple cider, mulled wine, and more. This year’s celebrations will also include traditional Christmas carols by candlelight for all to join in. 3-8pm. Dulwich College Beijing (6454 9068, Flora.Zhang@dulwich-beijing.cn)
This article originally appeared on page 12 of the of beijingkids magazine’s November/ December issue. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.