Movers and shakers: Christmas plans, big and small
Whether it’s a marathon session in front of the TV watching family-friendly movies, or a turkey feast with eggnog and mulled wine, we all have our Christmas rituals. CitySeen asked some of the city’s movers and shakers about their favourite festive activities.
Richard Ekkebus, culinary director of Amber, Landmark Mandarin Oriental
I have worked over Christmas for my entire career, as it is one of the busiest days of the year. Guests come with their families to celebrate and their expectations are high, so I need to ensure these expectations are met and even exceeded. However, our tradition is to have a nice family Christmas breakfast moment, where we unwrap our gifts. That moment is always magical and I have always enjoyed the look on my kids’ faces when they unwrap their gifts. For breakfast we will always have a nice panettone. In Amber, we serve traditional Bresse capon over Christmas. I will make sure that after it’s served in the evening I get some of the bird and ensure the sommelier has a nice glass of wine for me. We often do this standing in the kitchen with the key members of my team, and we wish each other a merry Christmas and many more to come.
Kate Babington, managing director of TREE
I adore Hong Kong at this time of the year. The Christmas lights, the social life, the shopping – and the weather is great. Nowhere else can compete. I never go away during Christmas. I love to hike during the holidays to get a bit of peace and quiet, as it’s the perfect antidote to all the socialising. Christmas is a time for appreciating what you have and spending quality time with people who matter to you. This year I’m looking forward to our company’s Christmas party. We always have a great time, especially because we have so many different nationalities, cultures and personalities, and it’s an absolute blast.
Girish Jhunjhnuwala, founder of Ovolo Group
My favourite thing about Christmas is spending time with my family. Our children go to school overseas, so Christmas is our time to come together and indulge a bit by spending the whole day eating, drinking and generally being merry in our big family room – just lazing around, hanging out and watching movies.
Bonnie Gokson, owner of Sevva and Ms B’s Cakery
I was brought up experiencing Christmas in a very warm and traditional way – carols by candlelight, midnight Mass at church, a home filled with an abundance of food with the delightful smells of freshly baked cookies, cakes and puddings.
I channel my inner child each year with the excitement of shopping for Christmas decorations and presents. Hong Kong is quite amazing with the lights and decorations. One of my favourite places is the wholesale flower market in Prince Edward for my festive selection of flowers, potted plants and pine trees.
This year I am spending lots of time in my cakery to create cakes for special charity projects. You can light up a person’s life with just a little something.
Anders Nelsson, musician
Playing Santa for disadvantaged children is what I most like to do. I start growing my beard in early September so I can look like the real thing. Last year I visited Mother’s Choice, and it was so touching to see the smiles on children who may not have much in the way of material things but who can still capture the Christmas spirit. It’s more rewarding than any commercial Christmas event. This year I’ll play Santa for the children at the Ronald McDonald House in Sha Tin. I was invited by Rebu Hui, wife of Canto-pop star Samuel Hui Koon-kit, who volunteered there for the stint. Activities like this keep Christmas real for me.