Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Walking Tour: Christmas Grottos

For today's walking tour I'm going to show you something festive: the highly elaborate Christmas grottos that fill the open spaces and shopping malls across Hong Kong. Unlike in the US, where there are often debates about where you can put Christmas decorations and whether you should call it "Christmas break" or "winter break," Hong Kong unabashedly celebrates Christmas, albeit in its most commercial form. The holidays are just getting started, but the decorations have been out in full force for over a month. 

A few of these pictures are from last year, but you might recognize some landmarks in the background.

The decorations are far more opulent than the ones I typically see adorning US shopping malls.

Sometimes there are small accents...

...but every mall has at least one massive home for Santa.

This is the train that chugged around Pacific Place last year.

The Landmark in Central is always beautiful...

...and last year it was romantic too.

Some of the decorations are puzzling...

...some are basic...

...and some are four stories tall. This one's in Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong.

I particularly like this year's IFC decor.

And this year The Landmark is using the same tree...

...but the baubles are new...

...and this year they have a train too!

Lots of people gather to see it.

In Times Square, Causeway Bay I found some fairly normal decorations...

...and one enormous Barbie grotto.

I'd never seen anything like this before.

It was like a shrine to all things Barbie.

I don't think this was particularly Christmasy.

Everything was approximately the same shade of pink.

There was one aluminum Christmas tree outside the grotto.

When I took the escalator out of Times Square mall there were more Barbies on display...

...and we found a Barbie Christmas village outside.

Just another bizarre, but effective, marketing strategy around Hong Kong.

If you feel inspired and want to pick up some Christmas decorations of your own, head to Pottinger Street in Central for some festive accessories.

Do you have any pictures of Hong Kong Christmas grottos? How about the holiday decorations from your own town? Email them to me at by Saturday and I'll add them to this post!

I hope you enjoy your holidays wherever you are in the world. Sing daan faai lohk!

1 comment:

  1. This is so wild! That architect of God was bizarre and probably some translation from the Chinese that meant nature. And what's with the Barbies? Has she usurped Hello Kitty?

    I don't remember the grottos when I lived in Hong Kong because I was more enthralled with the outdoor lights on the buildings. I remember they were kind of scaled down the last year I lived in HK ('98) because the economy was slowing down. This was way before the nightly light and laser shows they have now, so the Christmas (and then Chinese New Year) lights on the buildings were special.

    I'll try to find some gaudy photos from where I live. I've seen some, will pay better attention and will send them to you if I find them before Saturday.

    This is an awesome post! Thanks for sharing!


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