Operation Santa Claus
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK since 1988, Operation Santa Claus is one of the largest charitable donation drives in Hong Kong. By November 2013, it had raised more than HK$211 million for over 190 charitable projects.
Singing, searching and selling for charity
It wasn't just corporate events pulling in the big bucks for Operation Santa this year. Locals did their bit too - from treasure hunts to toy sales
When it comes to raising funds for Operation Santa Claus, every event counts - big or small.
Alongside the big corporate events, ordinary people are also going the extra mile to make the annual fundraising campaign's 26th year a huge success by doing everything from carol singing and joining treasure hunts to selling unwanted toys and helping people in need.
Events took place across the city, involving both long-term supporters of the festive charity drive, organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, and those inspired to get involved for the first time.
The Island Bar on Lamma has been supporting Operation Santa for 15 years and organised a series of events again this year. It started with a Christmas music quiz on December 4, then a treasure hunt around the island on December 8. For both, each person donated HK$100 to take part.
"Lamma treasure hunt is the kind of unique community event that gives Lamma Island its special character. It's like a cross between orienteering and a pub quiz," said Daniel Clarke, one of the organisers.
Bringing along their children and dogs, the treasure hunters followed often humorous clues to search for answers in different parts of Lamma. Prizes were given to the team that finished fastest, the one that had the most correct answers and the best dressed team, among others.
Santa Claus went on his annual pilgrimage around Lamma, ringing his bell and giving out sweets to the children.
"What a hoot it was leading Santa through the village, with a string of children following the elves and reindeer," said Kelly Morgan, who donned an elf costume to help Santa. Their final event was a boat race between Yung Shue Wan and Tai Wan To on Boxing Day.
Then there was the solicitors' carol service, held annually since 1992. More than 50 choristers - both lawyers and non-legal staff from various law firms - gathered at St John's Cathedral on December 2 to sing Christmas carols, with sponsorship from 18 international law firms.
At the end of the night, the donation boxes set up at the venue overflowed with generous cash gifts from the people attending.
A younger group of singers formed a Christmas choir to go from door to door in Laguna City, Kwun Tong, on December 20 and 21 to sing carols and collect donations for Operation Santa.
In Clear Water Bay, six-year-old Freddie Halliwell set up a shop in the Tai Hang Hau car park on December 5 and 6, selling his toys to raise funds for Operation Santa with the help of his friends and parents. The children priced their items, selling them for HK$10 to HK$30. Freddie's mother, Rachel Halliwell, said: "The kids were out for the entire weekend. All day Saturday and all day Sunday and they took it in shifts over lunch. They got very hot but they were focused. We are so proud of them as parents."