How to Celebrate Christmas in Shanghai

Celebrating Christmas in Shanghai this year? We are too! Although we are far from home, we can still enjoy many festive activities this holiday season. Whether you want to shop, skate, sight see, or eat, there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in Shanghai. Although China does not consider Christmas a public holiday, the Chinese still have their own way of celebrating this special time of year. Read on to discover more about what to expect this holiday season in China. Regardless of nationality, tis’ the season to be jolly and spread holiday cheer!

If you are looking for the perfect gift this holiday season, why not give your loved one a nice new rental? At Shanghai Properties, we have many options available throughout Shanghai that suit different needs. From elegant apartments to cozy flats, you will definitely find the ideal gift to express your love and appreciation this holiday. Just contact Adrienne Farrelly at and she’ll find the perfect gift for you!


Although Christmas is not a public holiday in Mainland China like it is in most Western countries, it has become increasingly popular throughout the country, especially in Beijing and Shanghai because of the high foreign populations. For most Chinese, they celebrate Christmas without much religious attachment, but rather as a holiday for couples and friends to get together and enjoy delicious food and exchange gifts.

Chinese still work during Christmas, unless it falls during the weekend. However, some foreign embassies, consulates and western companies will have several days off to celebrate Christmas. Many shops, department stores and restaurants will actually prolong their business hours to seize the business opportunities during the holiday. There are usually large crowds in popular, public places.

The commercial Christmas has become a major annual event in China’s major cities. On the streets and in department stores, there are Christmas trees, lights and decorations. You’ll hear Christmas music playing from the end of November in coffee shops, restaurants, and stores. Christmas carols can be heard over the noise of the crowds shopping for the Christmas season sales and promotions. You’ll see many of the same decorations: wreaths, banners, colorful lights and the same sorts of ornaments, so you should feel the holiday spirit even in Shanghai!

You will notice that malls and large shopping departments will become more and more crowded during the weekends leading up to Christmas. Shopping sprees during these times is very popular and many Chinese will also gather in large public spaces to spend time with friends and family or go shopping for christmas presents. Another thing you may notice is the appearance of multiple Christmas markets throughout Shanghai. The Christmas markets range from small and cozy to large and bustling and feature many international goods as well as crafts from local businesses. Every weekend in December there is at least one Christmas market occurring and they attract both Chinese and many foreigners living in Shanghai.

There are many activities leading up to Christmas to partake in. Ice-skating is available year-round at indoor rinks throughout the city, but the Houkou Swimming Pool Leisure Rink is one of the best places to skate in Shanghai. It’s a huge swimming pool that is converted to an ice rink in the winter. You can also try out some city snowboarding at the Yinqixing Indoor Skiing Site.

If you are interested in seeing some festive holiday shows or performances, you are also in luck. The Nutcracker is often staged in major cities such as Shanghai during the Christmas season in China. In addition, the International Festival Chorus holds annual performances in both Beijing and Shanghai. The East West Theatre in Shanghai hosts Christmas shows, so those are worthy to check out but you should book your theatre tickets in advance.

Traditional Christmas dinners are readily available at hotel restaurants and Western restaurants during Christmas in China. Supermarket chains catering to foreigners like Jenny Lou’s and Carrefour in China sell all the trimmings needed for a home-cooked Christmas feast. There are also many places to find a classic roast turkey or honey baked ham to enjoy.


How to Express Seasons Greetings in Chinese:

Seasons Greetings
节日的祝贺 - Jiérì de zhùhè
Merry Christmas
圣诞快乐 – Shèngdàn kuàilè
Happy Hanukkah
光明节快乐 - Guāngmíng jié kuàilè
Happy Holidays
节日快乐 - Jiérì kuàilè
Happy New Years
新年快乐 - Xīnnián kuàilè

Also, stay tuned with us to discover more activities and special events that are happening in Shanghai this month. We have many Christmas-related posts that we want to share with you to make sure you enjoy your holiday in China!

Other Christmas-related posts to look out for this month from Shanghai Properties:

– Where to Buy a Christmas Tree in Shanghai
– Church Services
– Christmas Activities in Shanghai for Kids
– Christmas Activities in Shanghai for Adults
– Christmas Eve Dinners
– Christmas Day Activities
– Shanghai’s Best Ice Rinks
– Where to Buy a Christmas Turkey & Ham
– And more!

adrienne-black-top-smallAdrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties



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