NEWS

Our cheat sheet on what to do and where to go on Christmas Day

by: Angie Kwon
17 Dec 2018

Isn’t it great that Hong Kong celebrates both Christmas and Buddha’s Birthday (as a public holiday)? Christmas isn’t a strictly British family holiday for Hongkongers, as it was originally introduced-- the way it’s celebrated here is as varied as we are. Hongkongers celebrate Christmas mostly with family, but depending on their circumstances and their background, some spend it with friends and some with their special SO (many parts of Asia sees Christmas as a romantic holiday.) And many spend it out and about with tons of festive events popping up all across town. So if you’re still stuck on how to spend this uniquely-Hong Kong way of holiday-ing, here’s our quick cheat sheet.

WITH FAMILY:

Go for a family-friendly Christmas brunch @The Place at The Cordis Hotel

Buffets are especially good if you’re in a crowd larger than three, so gather all your folks and start the family day off with a Christmassy brunch. There’s quite a few across town, one of our favourites being The Place featuring the classic roast turkey, beef wellington and a variety of fresh seafood. Along with festive goodies of Christmas log cake and baked gingerbread cheesecake. We also recommend the Christmas buffet at the Cafe Renaissance (The Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong) as well as the one at Cafe on the Park (The Royal Pacific Hotel). More details on them hereMong Kok, Shanghai St, Level L, Cordis, Hong Kong, Mongkok, Kowloon, 3552 3028, cordishotels.com/en/hong-kong/restaurants-and-bars/the-place

Visit Santa Claus and his elves @ifc
Does it ever confuse kids to meet five different Santa Claus(es) in one month? Nevertheless, there are quite a few of these events in town. Starting with the Santa Academy at ifc, that ‘teaches’ you how to become a Santa Claus, perfect for any keen bean with big jolly ambitions. Pacific Place has a gigantic and really gorgeous bookshelf themed Christmas display with an appearance from Santa Claus along with Santa elf events and a treasure hunt. These Santa Claus events have been around since November, so whichever you haven’t hit yet, there’s no better day to drop by. 8 Finance St, Central , ifc.com.hk

Treat the kids to a trip to Christmassy Disneyland
If you really wanna go all out, Disneyland is decked from head to toe with Christmas craziness. Starting with an impossibly gigantic Christmas tree in the front of the park, endless weaves of Christmas lights, festive goodies and your favourite characters dressed in Christmas garb, along with a Christmas Fantasy Parade to end the night with. hongkongdisneyland.com
Go see a (preferably Christmassy) show
The yearly HK Ballet’s show of The Nutcracker is a good choice. And if ballet isn’t your thing, there’s another show in town called Father Christmas. This show, based on the book by Raymond Briggs, is perfect for the youngins. And if you prefer something with more action, the Great European Circus is in town at the AIA carnival.  Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre; viagogo.com
Go ice-skating
There’s no snow in Hong Kong. There isn’t even a winter wonderland this year round (but why?). Ice rinks are slowly disappearing across town as well, but there’s still a notable one in Tai Koo Shing’s cityplaza and at Festival Walk. Cityplaza, 1111 King's Rd, Quarry Bay, cityplaza.com/entertainment/ice-palace
Stuff yourself with Christmas -- family style @Hunter & the Chase
Hunter & the Chase is doing Christmas dinner the way it should be-- family-style with sharing plates. The American Christmas dinner has a minimum of four eaters. The menu has everything you need from a Christmas family dinner, without the fuss of cooking it all in the first place. Featuring the classic turkey breast with gravy, pan-seared foie gras with sour cherry preserves along with all-American sides of buttery biscuits and sauteed spinach and desserts of apple pie and pumpkin pie. More information about this dinner here. 3/F & 4/F, The L. Place, 139 Queen's Road Central, 2915 1638; hunterandthechase.com

WITH FRIENDS:

Go for a lazy boozy Christmas brunch

Christmas brunch with friends is a different, boozier affair. We recommend the seafood Christmas brunch at CATCH featuring oysters, prawn cocktail, vodka-cured salmon (yassss), salt-baked beetroot with watercress pesto, roast turkey with gravy and cranberry slushy, baked ham with honey mustard glaze, sweet potato mash and potatoes bravas. Highlights are their desserts of cinnamon doughnuts with apple brandy anglaise and trifle with mangoes, berries and rum shortbread. Their premium drinks packages feature free-flow white wines, reds, beer, vodka, gin, spiced rum and tequila shots. If the Christmassy-ness of it isn't the issue, and it's more of the price issue, Fang Fang is doing an amazing buy-3-get-1-free festive brunch deal of their HK$398 pp brunch featuring their signature roast duck and a free flow package of red, white, sake and beer at a sweet HK$150 per guest. G/F, 95 Catchick St, Kennedy Town , catch.hk
Hit some rides or win some wonky-looking prizes at AIA Carnival
Yes, the AIA carnival is going to be packed. But with friends, it’s not too bad waiting in line. And really, most people go to the AIA carnival for the game booths anyways. The prizes look a bit wacky, like brand knock-offs, but it's all part of the fun. Central Harbourfront; tgec.asia
Stuff yourself with Christmas-themed burgers @Beef & Liberty
There are so many Christmas sandwiches and burgers across town. One of our notable favourites being the Sweet Baby Cheesus at Beef & Liberty featuring their signature medium-rare beef burger topped with brie & stilton cheese, caramelised onions, house pickles and sweet cranberry sauce. Turkey-lovers, the Christmas hot wrap at Pret a Manger is one of our firm favourites as well. For the pork-lovers, Little Bao has the Merry Xmas Bao, that comes with roasted suckling pig, cuttlefish Christmas stuffing, cranberry hoisin and mustard. 3/F California Tower, 30-32 D'Aguilar St , beef-liberty.com

Grab your sexiest Santa garb and get lit
It’s a little funny how it’s easier to find a sexy Santa Claus outfit than a normal bearded one at the strong slab streets (Pottinger street). Grab one and head to Levels or Bungalow to spend Christmas under disco lights. LEVELS, 2/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central, levels.hk

...But to be honest, we prefer to just enjoy things that are lit (up), over beers and street music @Central Ferry Pier
You could go clubbing, but really the whole city is already lit to oblivion, you might as well soak it all up at the edge of Central Ferry Pier. Just grab a few beers and enjoy the street music or hop on a ferry and head to the other side, at Victoria Harbour, where the Christmas lights are. Central Ferry Pier

WITH YOUR SPECIAL SOMEONE: 
Watch the countdown to Christmas Day @Victoria Harbour
Christmas with your special someone really starts with Christmas Eve. Head to Victoria Harbour and partake in the countdown to Christmas Day. Why is there a countdown to Christmas Day? We don’t really get it either, but it’s a popular event every year, mostly with couples, filling up the area taking photos. Victoria Harbour
Book a romantic “Murray Christmas” night at The Murray in advance
Waking up to a romantic hotel breakfast on a lazy Christmas Day? Yes, please. The Murray has one of the most gorgeous restaurants in town. You also get a Christmas gift, we aren’t sure what that is though. The Murray, 22 Cotton Tree Dr, Central, 3141 8888, niccolohotels.com
 
Book a couple’s massage at Angsana Spa @Hotel Icon
How is this Christmassy? Well, it’s romantic and also we’re doing a WOM Christmas giveaway on our Instagram platform right here. We’ll be giving out the vouchers on Christmas Day so I guess you’d have to schedule it as soon as you win. 17 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui , 3400 1000, hotel-icon.com
Enjoy a Christmas-themed afternoon tea
If a proper Christmas dinner isn’t really your cup of tea, treat yourself with smaller morsels of the holiday with the many Christmas themed afternoon teas in town. Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour is a fun and intimate choice. If you’re nice, stick with just the Christmas afternoon tea with Victorian-Christmas-esque treats of gingerbread cake, cannoli with rum raisins and red-wine poached apples. If you’re feeling a bit naughtier, the Christmas cocktails are unmissable: starting with The Snowman (vodka, monin vanilla, cream, frangelico and comes garnished with 85% dark chocolate) and the Christmas Club (applewood gin, mulled wine syrup, vanilla syrup, lemon juice, egg white and a Christmas candy garnish). The afternoon tea session on Christmas Day also comes with live Christmas carols.  Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road, Central , 2111 9449, landmark.hk/en/dining/dr-ferns-gin-parlour
Once it starts getting dark, go sit on the benches at Lee Tung Avenue entwined with fairy lights
The Christmas decoration in Lee Tung Avenue this year is truly breathtaking. It’s a short walk sure, but it’s worth sitting on one of those shiny benches. Especially good spot if you’re with dogs! 200 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, leetungavenue.com.hk
An intimate or fun Scandinavian Christmas dinner-- have it your way @The Flying Elk
For an intimate Christmas dinner opt for six-course meal at The Flying Elk with a festive menu of traditional Swedish Christmas of Swedish herring, Christmas ham, homemade meatballs and Swedish glögg (mulled wine). Designed like the inside of a warm Scandinavian cabin of dim lights, carpeted floors, and wooden tables, this is our version of romantic. If the setting isn't as big of a deal, and fun is what you're going for, you should go for the Danish Christmas eight-course menu at Test Kitchen. The menu starts off with Herring with Endive and Skyr, Shrimp Tartar, and Beetroot cured Salmon. And for something a little more hefty, they're serving Crispy Christmas Pork Belly and Slow-cooked Duck served with sides of red cabbage with orange, crispy potatoes and more. The menu also features special cheese from Denmark such as the semi-hard Vesterhavsost and the elusive Blaa Kornblomst (we don't know much about this cheese, but we're intrigued). To finish the night they have Ris la Mande with Cherry Sorbet and a surprise dessert from the chef. Yes you might have to sit with a group of strangers and half the menu isn't familiar, but that's the point, isn't it? Definitely one of the most anticipated Christmas menus this year. For other Christmas dinner menus check out this article. 158A Connaught Road West, Shop 3, Sai Ying Pun; 9032 7628; testkitchen.com.hk/danishchristmas2018
Go for a late-night Christmas movie showing and finish with cocktails at a hidden bar
Foxglove is hosting a Christmas movie showing at their big screen on Christmas night. You might cringe at the thought of Love Actually once over, but it’s really a perfect date movie isn’t it? Remember to reserve seats as we expect it to be pretty packed (as per usual with Foxglove). If the movie bores you too much, head to Frank’s Library, the hidden bar inside Foxglove camouflaged as an elevator... thing. Find the odd button and finish the night with some of their amazing infused-gin cocktails. 2nd Floor Printing House, 6 Duddell st./ 18 Ice House st., Central, 2116 8949; facebook.com/events/251512615722835

Angie Kwon

NEWS