Something for everyone as city gears up for Christmas

Theme parks, the Cultural Centre and - as ever - malls set to be the big draws this year as city gears up for the festive break

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 December, 2013, 5:15am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 December, 2013, 5:15am

Performances of The Nutcracker and The Snow Queen are among the highlights of an entertainment-filled Christmas in Hong Kong this year, with venues, malls and theme parks pulling out all the stops for the holiday.

At the Cultural Centre, the Hong Kong Ballet and the Sinfonietta are putting on holiday favourite The Nutcracker, while tonight the Hong Kong Philharmonic will play festive tunes from around the world, including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and classic Christmas carols.

At the Pacific Place mall, the decorations have come to life as a robotic Santa and his team of elves, reindeer and snowmen sort letters and prepare gifts while giant presents move across the ceiling.

And when the clock strikes 12.30pm and 4.30pm today and tomorrow, prepare for a surprise.

Taikoo-based mall Cityplaza brings a dance performance of The Snow Queen to shoppers, while Times Square hosts the Hong Kong Music Festival amid the Christmas sculptures of Argentinian artist Javier Gonzalez Burgos.

At the IFC mall, visitors can become part of the spectacle - riding stationary bikes which generate enough energy to light up the Christmas decorations.

Theme-park enthusiasts can expect their favourite spots to be decked out in full Christmas regalia, with Disneyland's home crew Mickey and friends putting on their Christmas best and carolling down Main Street.

"It's beautiful, there will be a lot of snow," said 15-year-old Louis Lai, who will be heading to the Magic Kingdom for Christmas. He and his girlfriend, Mandy Leung, were in Times Square for some last-minute shopping.

Ocean Park is celebrating with an underwater Christmas complete with acrobats playing out tales of sea fairies, urchins and mysterious shipwrecks.

Noah's Ark on Park Island has a sweet take on the holidays, with over 50 flavours of Jelly Belly jelly beans there for tasting at their "Christmas Sweet Dreams Factory".

Meanwhile, Christmas lunches across major hotels in the city appear fully booked, although a handful of restaurants in major hotels like the Peninsula, the Mira and the Shangri-La have limited availability on Boxing Day.

And while some enjoy high tea at the Peninsula, the Welsh male choir will be serenading guests in the Peninsula Lobby.

Others in the city will be having a quiet family affair, avoiding the crowds.

"We'll probably be going to Cheung Chau to go hiking," said 20-year-old Helene Woo.

The weather is forecast to remain cool and sunny with a few cloudy spells over the next two days, and the temperature will range between 12 and 17 degrees Celsius today and 13 to 18 degrees tomorrow.