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Festive Sights and Events for Christmas in Shanghai

Staying in Shanghai this Christmas? Find out what to do and where to go with our in-depth guide to the festive season, Shanghai-style.

Of all the Western customs, traditions and holidays that have become popular in China in recent years, Christmas is arguably the one that the Chinese population have embraced the most. In cities like Shanghai that have large expat populations, the main shopping streets are adorned with lights, trees and various other festive-themed decorations. Santa’s face even makes the odd appearance in some shop windows. Workers will exchange gifts and many companies will close their doors on the 25th. It is the expat community, however, that tends to lead the city in terms of organising and hosting Christmas events and activities. If you find yourself staying in the city this year, the following guide will help to make Christmas in Shanghai a memorable one.


Although Shanghai’s two main shopping streets, West Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road, will be wonderfully lit up to give off a Christmas feel, it is unlikely that you will find any seasonal gifts or other related items on either street. Fortunately, there are a number of Christmas-style markets that serve to accommodate eager shoppers.

Christkindlmarkt, December 6-8, Paulaner Brauhaus, 150 Fenyang Road

Paulaner’s annual Christmas market returns for the seventh year on the weekend of December 6th to 8th. The entire outdoor area of this popular location will be turned into a vibrant festive market complete with stalls and tables selling Christmas items, decorations, clothes and traditional foods. Mulled wine and Paulaner’s range of house beers and foods are also available. Admittance is a very reasonable RMB 25 per day.

PLTFRM MRKT, December 7-8, 733 Wanhangdu Road

One of the more unconventional Christmas markets, PLTFRM are hosting a two day event in aid of local charity Orbis, who will receive 20 percent of all proceeds. The customary stalls will be stocked full of items ranging from local fashion designs and jewellery, to porcelain and vintage clothing labels. The organisers are confident shoppers will find gifts and other Christmas items that are more artistic and creative than the norm. Food and Belgian beer will also be on sale and admittance is free on both days.

Marché de Noel, December 7-8, Wharf 1846, 600 Waima Road

This market will feature over 100 stalls selling clothes, toys, jewellery, books and food. With a special emphasis on children, there will be numerous kids workshops, arts and bakery classes, and the opportunity to get a photo taken with Santa. For the adults, mulled wine, hot chocolate and a range of foods will also be on offer. The market will be open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on both days and admittance is free.

Events and Activities

Winter Wonderland, December 7, Three on the Bund, 17 Guangdong Road

The owners of Three on the Bund will be turning the restaurant into a magical play area for families on December 7th. A full day of activities are planned including Christmas tree decorating, baking, a choir group singing carols and lots more. A Christmas brunch will also be served and the event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations are required to confirm attendance.

Canadian Christmas Party, December 14, Grand Hyatt Hotel, 88 Century Avenue

Organised by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CanCham), this party is open to all who wish to attend. While the activities being planned are still a secret, expect something along the lines of last year’s amazing outdoor ice rink and Christmas village. CanCham have confirmed that Santa will be present and will have a team of elves with him as they recreate their toy workshop. Admittance is RMB 425 for CanCham members, RMB 485 for non-members, RMB 210 for kids under 12 and RMB 60 for kids under five.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Charity Dinner, December 9, Maya, 568 Julu Road

The popular Mexican restaurant Maya are hosting a silent christmas dinner on December 9th in aid of local charity Baoji Xinxing Aid. A four course meal includes free-flow wine, sangria and margaritas and is priced at RMB 450. The event starts at 7 p.m. and all proceeds from the night will go to the Baoji charity. Places must be reserved in advance.

Turkey To Go, October 24 - December 26, Kerry Hotel, 1388 Huamu Road

Looking to have Christmas dinner at home but dreading the thought of having to cook? Well, the friendly chefs at the Kerry Hotel are willing to do all the hard work for you. Christmas hampers complete with a pre-cooked turkey, honey-roasted potatoes, veg, mince pies, wine, cookies and more are available for pre-order with three days notice. There are two hamper options available: turkey a-la carte from RMB 880 or the bumper turkey hamper from RMB 1,180. Last orders will be taken on December 26th.

Church Services

Hengshan Community Church, Hengshan Road

Shanghai’s best known Protestant church will be holding their Christmas service on December 25th from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The service will be in English and will be accompanied by a local school choir. All offerings on the day will be generously donated to orphanages around China.

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Dongjiadu Road

The Saint Francis Xavier Church, also known as Dongjiadu Catholic Church, will hold bi-lingual Chinese and English services on Christmas Day. The first service will start at 10:30 a.m., followed by the second service at 12:30 p.m. Mass will also be celebrated on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m.

Saint Peter’s Church, South Chongqing Road

There will be one Christmas Day service in English at Saint Peter’s, starting at 11 a.m. A traditional Christmas Eve mass will also be held on December 24th at 8:30 p.m. On December 8th, local children will perform a nativity play at the church, starting at noon.


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