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Operation Santa Claus

Merry mix of music, food and gifts at Hong Kong Christmas street fair

Event in Wan Chai is one of two organised by Swire Properties to raise funds for charity campaign Operation Santa Claus

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 2:50pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 8:01pm

The streets were decked with festive lights, shoppers milled around with Santa hats perched on their heads and Christmas carols were sung on every corner last weekend, at the first of two charity Christmas fairs organised by major Hong Kong property developer Swire.

Visitors to Swire Properties’ White Christmas Street Fair, held in Starstreet Precinct, Wan Chai on November 25 and 26, could purchase gifts from an array of festive tailor-made items, including personalised candy jars, wooden accessories and gift baskets. The event’s fourth edition was themed “Homemade Happiness”.

Shoppers were also invited to take part in workshops conducted in “Happiness Express” minivans.

Guests at the fair also enjoyedChristmas treats in between live musical and theatrical performances, including one done by children from theatre troupe Shakespeare4All.

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The performing arts education organisation’s artistic director Shiona Carson said she saw the fair as an opportunity to support a charitable endeavour.

“Every year, Swire Properties organise these wonderful Christmas fairs, and we try to get our children involved,” she said. “Generally we perform Shakespeare, but [we also do works by] other literary greats. This year is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s quite a comedic piece.”

Proceeds from the Christmas fair will be donated to Operation Santa Claus (OSC), a joint annual charity campaign by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

Swire Properties, which was established in Hong Kong in 1972 and is a long-time major donor to OSC, will hold a second Christmas fair in Tong Chong Street, Quarry Bay, from December 1 to 3.

The company’s two street fairs include the participation of more than 10 local restaurants, cafes and lifestyle stores in total.

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A spokeswoman said charitable initiatives formed an important part of Swire’s overall remit.

“We believe properties to be the hardware, but it doesn’t end there,” she said. “When you achieve development, you need to have life inside it. So, as developers, we pay attention also to the software – the people, both within and outside the company. Christmas is a good time to get together, have a good time and pursue a good cause.”

Pia Wong, executive director at Bring Me A Book Foundation, one of the beneficiaries of Swire Properties and OSC’s previous charity events, said she was grateful for the company’s donations.

“They raised around HK$300,000 for the [organisation] that I run, and this made a huge difference,” she said. “We were able to install 15 libraries serving 80,000 children and teachers.”

Last year, Swire Properties’ Tong Chong Street fair attracted about 28,000 visitors and raised more than HK$1.1 million for OSC.

A preview event for the Starstreet fair was held at one of Swire Hotels’ signature restaurants, Mr and Mrs Fox, in Quarry Bay on November 16, where restaurant manager Peter Murray led a mulled wine workshop for guests.

Participants that day were also invited to try festive food treats to be sold at the Starstreet fair, and they were taught how to make their own Christmas decorations.