Accessibility links

Chinese Adopt Western Holiday of Christmas

  • Stephanie Ho

Christmas is not a traditional Chinese holiday. But the brightly-colored lights of the season are attracting a growing number of Chinese fans, who say they like the idea of decorating and giving gifts.

In Beijing, the Christmas holiday is one of many cultural imports interpreted with Chinese characteristics.

Many of the world's Christmas decorations are made in China, but not everything is sent overseas. These days, 25-year-old Luo Jie is one of the many who like what she calls “the Christmas atmosphere.”

“I might go eat with friends, and go watch a movie, and then at midnight, I might go to Wangfujing, where they have a church, to get some of the feeling of Christmas,” she said.

She's planning to buy presents for her friends, family and teachers.

Holiday sales are a draw for 39-year-old department store employee Sunny. She is buying decorations to give her customers the Christmas feeling.

“There's that story about Santa Claus' generosity. That's why I think people, from kids to adults, like Christmas because they anticipate gifts,” said Sunny.

Vendor Du Yanyan said Chinese New Year is still the most popular holiday in China, but Christmas is gaining.

“Chinese families are willing to spend some money on Christmas decorations. Before there wasn't as many, but now, people know that it is Christmas and they say ‘I want to buy a tree or some presents,’” said Du Yanyan.

The holiday shopping comes as the Chinese government tries to increase domestic spending to boost the economy. But many shoppers are like Luo Jie, who says she mainly enjoys Christmas’ distinctive look and music.

“On the streets, you hear Christmas songs - 'Jingle bells, jingle bells' - it's very fun,” she said.