What does Christmas mean to you?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 3:14am

Whether it's carol-singing in church or an after-dinner gathering at the local pub, we all have our yuletide rituals. Cityseen asks some of the city's movers and shakers about their favourite festive activities


Charlotte Chen, socialite

My favourite activity is helping to cook our Christmas dinner in South Africa. It's high summer there and everyone is wearing T-shirts and shorts. There is always a barbecue where the men hang around, cooking slabs of meat and drinking beer. The girls help set the table with centre pieces made of porcupine quills. We prepare grilled pumpkin and all sorts of root vegetables, mixed salads, decadent desserts and, of course, a turkey.


Charlotte Hwang, co-founder of The9thMuse

If I'm not celebrating my birthday on a plane somewhere over the holidays, I find myself surrounded by my loved ones at home in my pyjamas, pretty much eating anything sweet around the dinner table. Otherwise we dress up our dogs head to tail in uncomfortable outfits just for the fun of it. We also call overseas family members to check on them. One of my siblings will play the piano. The best part is opening gifts around the Christmas tree, while blasting out Christmas music and snapping pictures of one another with our gifts. We often save the sheets of wrapping paper for the following year because they are so pretty. We don't sing songs together, but we do always tell one another we love them.


Winston Lam, founder of Kitchens + Interiors

A few years back my family spent Christmas with my parents and grandmother on the Gold Coast in Australia. It was a treat to experience Christmas in the summer, when it's hot and you can hang out at the beach and by the pool. It was so unlike our traditional cold Christmases at home. It reminds you that the world is full of exciting places to visit.


Eleanor Morris, socialite

Each year, instead of receiving a gift, I like people to make a donation to a charity, big or small, but given with love. This year I'm choosing IDEAL. It's a tiny charity set up years ago in Sham Shui Po by parents of children born with intellectual disabilities. It is no fault of their own but they are deprived of hope and aspirations. Over the years, these parents have been doing the best they can, but with old age creeping up new plans must be put in place. For now, a loving donation is the best Christmas present.


Geert Renmans, head chocolatier of Vero Chocolates

I come from Belgium. Santa doesn't really exist in Belgian culture but we celebrate Saint Nicholas' Day on December 6. In Belgium on Christmas Eve, you have a family meal and go to church for midnight Mass. Afterwards, you come home and have hot chocolate and bread with raisins and lots of sugar flakes inside. On Christmas Day, we have a big family lunch that goes on all day. My ideal would be watching a movie at home, something like The Bells of St Mary's that the kids can sing along to.