Shop 'til you drop
Signs of Christmas come earlier each year with the first of Hong Kong's festive decorations being unveiled almost a month ago. With glimpses of Christmas trees or Santa grottos being erected, the general mood of shoppers transforms. A festive spark ignites and there's a spring in each step as purse strings loosen and the chatter of anticipation from children and adults alike resonates along with the joyful ringing of cash registers.
Shopping malls are becoming more inventive, attracting shoppers with creative Christmas themes, events and shopping incentives, adding to the allure and fun of the season.
Kickstarting this year's festive shopping season, Toy to the World@Harbour City opened on November 9 and is the city's signature Christmas showpiece between the Ocean Terminal lobby and the five flag poles by Star Ferry. The Toy Story theme, with larger-than-life characters from the movie, provides a great Christmas photo opportunity for the family. And if you want more of the same, Toy Story Land is now open at Hong Kong Disneyland.
In the spirit of giving, Harbour City has collaborated with renowned New York artist Brian Donnelly aka KAWS for the fourth time. This year, he has designed a limited-edition red and green Santa tote bag, redeemable on December 17 and 18 when spending more than HK$2,000 at any two outlets at Harbour City with either an EPS, Octopus or credit card receipt, and a donation of HK$150 to Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation.
Staying with the toy theme, Times Square is hosting Barbie's Christmas Party with one of China's top designers, Guo Pei, who debuts her Journey of Childish Dreams collection of 12 stunning haute masterpieces tailor-made for Ken and Barbie at Barbie's Dream House, also designed by Pei, on the second floor atrium. Times Square Piazza has turned into a stunning Christmas Garden with five miniature houses set among glowing trees on which dangle transparent capsules containing Barbie accessories enriched by pink lights. The 'little doll with big dreams' Barbie showcase highlights fashionable tastes, healthy lifestyle and a positive perspective of a doll who has no cultural boundaries.
Another superstar theme is found at Cityplaza with its Silver Screen Christmas Delights. Shoppers can travel through time and explore authentic recreations of movie sets from the silver screen. The theme, inspired by the Christmas season being a 'fantastic time full of imaginative love stories and vivid dreams this side of the silver screen', encourages shoppers to 'run wild and free'. Cityplaza has an array of international performers to wow the crowds over a three-week period, which includes Bubble Show. The show features world-renowned professional bubble artistes Iryna and Alexander from the Ukraine. Award-winning Canadian illusionist Richard Forget will perform his signature act, 'An Urban Phantasy' and Australian Theatrical Troupe will be presenting an original musical, Imagination. Fantasy. Dream. Love. There will also be gift redemptions offered to shoppers.
The IFC Mall is 'Where Dreams Come True' this Christmas and is where Hong Kong's first public-created Christmas decorations are on display in the form of hundreds of sparkling 'wish cubes' filling the air over the Oval Atrium's dreamy white wonderland at Podium Level 1. The mall's festive campaign started in the autumn when the public were invited to participate by sharing their special Christmas wishes, which are now floating high above a four-metre Santa on ice-skates, who is turning the wishes into gifts to adorn the giant Christmas tree, filling the mall with festive cheer. Another first in Hong Kong is the decorative ice-rink that Santa is standing on.
Starting mid-December, IFC Mall presents a musical, entitled A Christmas Wish, which has an eco-friendly message and features the story of an Eskimo and a polar bear that travel from Europe to Hong Kong for the first time. Wandering onto the ice, the bear interacts with shoppers, sharing the fun of an Arctic adventure. The show is filled with singing, dancing and stunning ice-skating.
Shoppers spending more than HK$8,000 in two shops on the same day between November 17 and December 27 will receive a state-of-the-art Georg Jensen Masterpiece Crash Tray of Verner Panton Design.
Pacific Place celebrates a stylish Christmas with a traditional theme, My Angel. My Christmas, My Place. Ethereal angels adorn the shopping mall along with real Noble Fir Christmas trees. The stylish angels, comprising of more than 100,000 mosaic pieces in sparkling colours, are suspended over the mall. They appear in various shades, each with their own symbolism, such as aqua representing peace and harmony; amber, elegance and grace; silver, reflecting wisdom and love; and gold embodying joy and prosperity.
The entertainment also dazzles shoppers with the return of Danish act The Bottle Boys who, as their name suggests, have their own brand of music that feature bottles as musical instruments. Acrobatic dancers Snow Globe will perform intricate balancing routines while confined to a four-metre tall inflatable dome. And Christmas is not complete without a photo op with Santa in his enchanting house. There will be an HK$80 charge which Pacific Place will donate to the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children. Shoppers will also be entitled to a one-of-a-kind gift of a Pacific Place and Kate Spade New York live colourful notebook set which can be redeemed when spending HK$3,800 or HK$3,000 for American Express card members. This promotion lasts until January 1.
'The Lappish Christmas at Festival Walk' is inspired by Santa's year-round home, Lapland, which lies within the Arctic Circle and is where, traditionally, Santa works alongside his elves to create Christmas magic for people around the world. In keeping with the magic of Santa, shoppers can see him in a variety of guises and styles around the mall. And, for just HK$60, shoppers can have a photo taken with Santa every weekend in December and from December 22 to 27 between 12 noon and 6pm, which comes with a 3D Santa Claus photo frame. Spectacular decorations include Hong Kong's tallest indoor Christmas tree which towers 70 feet and is festooned with elegant dECor and Christmas lights.
The entertainment at Festival Walk includes a series of Christmas parades led by Santa each Friday until Sunday throughout December at 7.30pm, extended to Tuesday over the Christmas weekend, choir performances of traditional Christmas carols, stilt walking and more. Shoppers spending HK$4,000 or more in a single day at Festival Walk via any electronic payment method between December 1 and 27 can redeem a bottle of red wine and a lucky draw entry for a chance to win a 2011 Volkswagen EOS2.0 TSI. Those spending on American Express cards will have three lucky draw entries along with their bottle of wine, and if they spend HK$5,000 on their card, they will receive a Christmas Food Hamper or a Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas Gift Set with their three lucky draw entries.
The Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa at Hung Hom is decked with a series of movie scenes from the Christmas cartoon movie Alvin and the Chipmunks 3. Other events include three teen dance troupes, Future Funk and Bboy Jalen from the United States and Black Angle Kids from Taiwan. Bboy Cico holds the Guinness World Record for one-handed aerial moves which he will thrill shoppers with. Shoppers spending HK$300 or more within the mall on any electronic payment device can enjoy an instant lucky draw with more than 10,000 prizes and cash coupons worth more than HK$1 million. There will also be a grand draw with prizes of a 60-inch 3D LED HDTV, four days, three nights travel and hotel package to Singapore, massage chairs and more.
Sha Tin's New Town Plaza 1 lights up Christmas with its HK$18 million Starlight Garden Christmas Illumination Show on the 7th floor Sky Garden from 6pm until January 4. Tickets are free and available from 4.30 pm on the 4th floor. Its theme, The Birth of Universe, has more than 100,000 blue and white LED lights representing the glittering galaxies. With music to complement, dashing shooting stars will shower and leap across the sky. The light show is based on the Tokyo Midtown Starlight Garden Illumination Show held since 2007, which has drawn more than 20 million residents and tourists and was named the best Christmas illumination show in Japan last year. The Hong Kong show has been produced by the same team as the Tokyo show. Also, each weekend and public holiday until December 31, enjoy the Parade of the Star Fairies from 7 to 9 pm. There will be related photo exhibitions taking place throughout the month.
Spend more than HK$500 via electronic devices and enjoy a lucky draw to win a three-night round-trip ticket to Tokyo for two with 10,000 yen (HK$1,008) dining coupons for Tokyo Midtown.