The year’s ending again, which means the holidays are right around the corner. You may be craving some good old family time, roast beef and Christmas ornaments to get in the mood, but you happen to not be at home? No worries, turns out (most) Chinese cities have the same on offer during this special period.

Christmas Markets

Whether you’re interested in buying some gifts, which your family probably still expects even though you’re not with them, want to donate to a good cause or just have a sip of some mulled wine, there’s no shortage of Christmas markets during this season. Especially in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you’ll be able to find a Christmas market nearby.

Christmas Shows

Did you use to sing in the Christmas choir? Were you playing Maria in the yearly Christmas play? There’s more than enough shows that can keep you busy this Christmas. For starters, Disney Resort Shanghai turned itself into a winter wonderland now that Frozen 2 was just released. From classical music to musicals or pop singers, you can still see grab your chance to see your favorite performance on stage before the year ends!

Christmas Dinners

Let’s be honest, Christmas, and the rest of life really, is all about food. That’s the one thing you don’t need to worry about and might actually be more convenient in China, albeit if you’re willing to pay a certain price. Brunch, lunch, linner or dinner, it’s all available. Stuff yourself at a buffet or get fancy in a restaurant. But the most important part, of course, is: enjoy!

Do some Shopping

Yes, China’s an e-commerce heaven, but that doesn’t mean physical shopping centers don’t matter anymore. Get the best deals online via Taobao, Jingdong, and Tmall. Enjoy the atmosphere and outlandish Christmas ornaments offline. Many big shopping malls will have special performances throughout the day to keep you in high spirits. And if you just happen to be away during Christmas, fear not. The look will probably stay until March.

So those are all things you’d also do at home, but how to give it a Chinese vibe? We suggest the following things. 

Watch a Movie

Get into the right mood by watching some Asian movies during the season. Last Christmas with Asian heart-throb Henry Golding is coming out this year, but you can also turn to other golden oldies like Christmas in August. Combine it with some roasted pumpkin seeds or dried meat for that Chinese feeling.

Take a Dive

The local Chinese, especially in the North, don’t let the cold or ice stop them. If you’re in Beijing, you’ll see people ice skating and swimming next to each other on Houhai Lake. In Shanghai, people may still dive into the Suzhou River, as cold water is supposed to be good for your blood pressure anyway right? Take up a new hobby and make some local friends as you go this Christmas!

Go Ice Skating

Yes, you may have done ice skating in your own country, but have you done it the Chinese way yet? As many Chinese don’t live in an environment where there’s naturally occurring ice, they’ve made it all the more fun when they do have ice rinks. Instead of simple small frames to keep you uptight, you’ll find all sorts of animals to prop you up. And for the extra local feeling, you can get on an ice bike, no skates needed at all!

Organize a Party

If you are just looking to have a good time, then organizing a party is the easiest way to get there. Hang some Christmas ornament around and make sure you’re keeping the Chinese spirits high by providing some baijiu and Tsingtao’s. You can incorporate a few Chinese activities instead of doing secret Santa like karaoke and the dice game. Guaranteed to have a great evening and Christmas.

If you’re ready to do a non traditional Christmas in China, get started here! Or maybe you’re staying in China for the winter holidays and want to explore more? Check out the Winter Wonders of Harbin and Why China is the Best Place to be in Winter!