Oh, Christmas! Let’s have some fun!

 

 

 

BEIJING

Oh, Christmas!

Let’s have some fun!

 

By Liu Lu, Wang Jian, Wang Di, Yu Li, Cao Ting and Liu Mingyang

 

Although a majority of Chinese people do not have a Christmas break, the country’s youth have been increasingly getting into the holiday spirit.

Different from family reunions that often mark the celebration in the west, Chinese observe the day by getting together with friends, shopping, giving gifts and romance.

 

SANTA CLAUS COMING INTO TOWN

 

On Wednesday of December 24, 7-year-old Guo Xunyu’s primary school teacher is throwing a party to celebrate the western holiday. The children will sing songs, eat snacks and play games with her classmates at primary school.

“It is a wonderful time for our kids to sit around, as well as for us parents to communicate,” said Gao Yajie, one of the parents who helped arrange the activity. “After all, the children are too busy with their daily school work.”

In a community in north Beijing, 26 male volunteers will dress up as “Santa Claus” to deliver gifts to about 260 homes.

According to Meng Jin, an organizer of the activity, the 26 Santa Clauses plan to knock at the door to surprise kids with their presents.

“We aim to leave a wonderful childhood memory for children in our community and Christmas eve is just the right time when the festive atmosphere is everywhere,” she said.

“Many families have registered to get a present for their child, we are recruiting more Santa Clauses for the eve,” she added.

 

CELEBRATION AROUND THE COUNTRY

 

In a remote village at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China, a Tibetan woman, Tsering Amon, is busy rehearsing a dance performance for a show on Christmas eve.

Knowledge about the western holiday spread to the Tibetan village through children who learnt about it in school and people who work in big cities. Now, more people in the small village enjoy the jubilant atmosphere when the eve falls.

“Since Christmas celebrations began in 2009, people in the neighborhood have enjoyed it very much. This year, the celebration will last about two hours, including singing, dancing and mini-dramas,” said Tsering Amon.

“We have bought costumes, Christmas hats, masks and presents such as apples for the seniors and pencils and erasers for the children,” she said.

On Christmas, people will send blessings via cellphone, wishing friends and family “merry Christmas,” “good luck,” and “wish you health.”

Last month, construction began on a Santa Park in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Scheduled to open in 2016, it is jointly built by both China and Finland and will become the first authentic Finnish Santa Park in Asia.

The park, covering about 10,000 square meters, will include scores of entertainment events related with Christmas with a total investment of nearly 200 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars).

Paula Parvianien, deputy head of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, said that the Santa Park will be a platform for Sino-Finnish culture exchange, and help promote the cultural and economic cooperations between the two countries.

Across the Taiwan Strait, various activities will also be held on the island, including live-shows and carnivals, and local churches will be filled with people to sing anthems and exchange presents.

 

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

 

The commercial importance of Christmas in China is obviously increasing.

Walking into a restaurant or shopping mall during the holiday season, Christmas decorations are often be spotted and christmas carols heard. Many businesses have their staff dress up in Santa hats and put on a more chipper attitude.

Near Sanlitun and Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, a nightlife hotspot for both locals and foreigners, restaurants and night clubs host special events on Christmas Eve.

Zhang Hong, a staff in a law firm in Beijing, has scheduled to meet three friends to see a cross talk on Christmas Eve.

“We celebrate Christmas as it is a chance to hang out,” said Zhang. “We make reservations beforehand, as it will be people everywhere when the day comes.”

 

 

 

 

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British consumers plan to spend more this Christmas: survey

 

 

Photo taken on November 19, 2014 shows the Christmas illuminations at Regent Street,

in London, Britain.   Photo by Han Yan

 

Photo taken on November 19, 2014 shows the Christmas illuminations with glorious

white Peacocks at Bond Street, in London, Britain.   Photo by Han Yan

 

 

SURVEY

British consumers plan

to spend more this Christmas

 

By Wu Xintao

 

Amid signs of greater economic optimism, 31 percent of British consumers planned to increase their spending on holiday shopping his year, said Irish consulting firm Accenture on Monday of December 24 in its 2014 Christmas shopping survey.

The survey indicated that 27 percent of consumers were planning to spend an additional 250 pounds (or 392 U.S. dollars) or more on Christmas shopping than they did in 2013, Accenture said.

More than half of British consumers planned their Christmas shopping in advance: 57 percent had already started or planned to start purchasing presents by mid-September. In addition, 21 percent had already spent between 60 pounds and 300 pounds on Christmas gifts by mid-September, data showed.

Fifty-four percent of survey respondents said they would put cash aside to pay for their Christmas shopping with 32 percent planning to do so to take advantage of special, limited time offer “door buster deals.” Ninety-three percent said discounts were the primary driver of purchasing decisions related to their holiday shopping, figures showed.

“With consumers starting to shop for Christmas gifts as early as September, retailers have an extended period to drive sales and acquire new customers,” said Fiona O’Hara, managing director of retail at Accenture UK and Ireland in a press release.

The survey also indicated that with the proliferation of smartphone use and advances in technology, digital technology would play a more significant role in Christmas shopping this year.

Thirty-four percent of shoppers believed shopping with a mobile device would lead to better discounts and also help them compare prices while in a physical store. Over this Christmas season, 65 percent of shoppers planned to spend 50 percent of their Christmas gift pounds online, data also showed. (1 pound = about 1.57 U.S. dollars)

 

 

Photo taken on November 19, 2014 shows a Christmas showcase at John Lewis store

in London, Britain.  Photo by Han Yan

 

Photo taken on November 19, 2014 shows a Christmas showcase at John Lewis store

in London, Britain.   Photo by Han Yan

 

Photo taken on November 19, 2014 shows a Christmas showcase at Harrods store

in London, Britain.    Photo by Han Yan