Official estimates state that only about two percent of China’s 1.3 billion population is Christian, while Christian churches assert that figure to be at least doubled. No matter what the true statistics, Christmas is not a religious holiday observed by many Chinese. It is, however, becoming a phenomenally popular commercial holiday.
From the high street to the local barbershop, a traveler to China in December will find every color and stature of Christmas decoration and tree. Giant trees are erected in shopping plazas and hotel and restaurant staff donning Santa hats are easy to spot. It’s a little bizarre to be surrounded by so much of the accoutrements of Christmas without any of the religious beliefs associated, but any visitor to Asia will probably find this to be the case.
So, you’re in China for Christmas. If you’d like to celebrate a little, find a turkey dinner or go to see a concert.
Most of the large international hotels will host Christmas Eve and Day buffets serving all your favorites: turkey, roasts, hot rolls and veggie sides. Reservations are essential, so book in advance. You won’t need to be a guest at the hotel to take part in their Christmas meals. See the event listing below for Christmas-related events at hotels.
If it’s just Christmas snacks you’re craving, cookies or peppermint drops, then head to any larger department store or supermarket. Most of the international chains will have Christmas cookies and other traditional snacks from all over the world. Larger hotel chains with bakeries and delis will also be selling traditional Christmas food.