Shanghai Guide | Christmas Markets and Activities in December

I’ve almost always spent Christmas traveling somewhere so I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a tree, bought presents and wrapped them and put them under the tree, and just enjoyed what the city had to offer. 

This Christmas will also be my son’s first Christmas, with his grandma joining from the US, so I’m determined to find all of the most Christmassy things to do in this city. 

Where did I look for information? 

1. WeChat Search: you can search for keywords within articles or public accounts. Some WeChat public accounts that I found useful are: ShanghaiFamily, ExpatServicesShanghai, Shanghai Mamas Org, The Shanghai Collective (FB/IG available), 247tickets 

2. Dazhong Dianping app: this is the yelp + trip advisor + Instagram of China. People mainly use this to review businesses and events. This is a place to check out reviews of how places and events really are because there are plenty of people who don’t take over-the-top perfect photos. The trending businesses will often appear on the front page so you can start there. A basic understanding of Chinese will be helpful to use this app. 

3. Xiao Hong Shu app (Little Red Book): this is like the Pinterest + Instagram of China. A lot of bloggers and influencers will post about what is happening in the city. You do need some basic understanding of Chinese to use this 

[ At Home - Decorations and Christmas Dinner ]

I got all of my Decorations from Taobao, they arrive anywhere from on the same day - within 3 days. To give you an idea, this is roughly how much items cost:

Live Christmas Tree (1.4m tall) + Pot + Soil: ¥245 (only $35usd)
Snowflake Christmas Lights: ¥44
White ornaments: ¥156
Baby Christmas Outfit (Hat, onesie, pants): ¥99
Gold Christmas Reef: ¥166
Decorations - coffee table: ¥20 (branch & berries), ¥35 (small tree), ¥35(Countdown), ¥26 (Small cloth tree)
Decorations on the dining table: ¥42 (Long red table cloth), ¥3.7 (Pinecones), ¥175 (Gold Candles)
TV cabinet Garland: ¥95
Christmas Lamps: ¥295 +¥162
Personalized Stockings: ¥395
Fake Poinsettia plant (real ones are poisonous for babies): ¥24
Gingerbread Man pillow: ¥62
Christmas pillows: ¥117
Large santa present bag: ¥109
Grand Total: ~ ¥2,300 (or ~ $330usd)

And it's crazy that the live tree was only 10% of the cost. 



For Christmas Eve dinner, we decided to dine at home. I ordered from iapm mall's City Super. It's a well known international supermarket that stocks Japanese and western food. They had a really good Christmas delivery menu starting from 4 people to 8 people. It included dishes like grilled salmon, turkey, steak, grilled veggies (potatoes/beans/carrots etc), salads... and it includes a bottle of champagne and a cake!  

City Super Dine at Home menu
4 person set menu: ¥1,088
8 person set menu: ¥2,288
Add on options from ¥28 ~ ¥260 (Garlic bread, lobster soup, beef fillet, meat pie, pork knuckle, lasagna.. etc)


[ Photos with Santa: Concordia International School ]

Time: Late November (Nov 23, 2019)
Price: Free entry, ¥50 for photo with Santa

The gymnasium and also big hall was filled with both small business vendors and students selling all kind of hand made crafts, cookies, ornaments etc It is a very friendly environment, and you can also bring your kid to one of the playgrounds outside! 


[ Corner Cone Gelato ]

Where: No 1852 Huihai Middle Road (Jiaotong University Station, Line 10&11)
Cost: ¥32 per Christmas design cone
Hours: 9:30am ~ 6:30pm (Design cones sells out by 2:30pm)

This is a Taiwanese store that opened up in Shanghai recently. They are famous for their themed ice-cream cones which change up regularly. During Christmas they have a Santa and Reindeer one, limited to 100 on weekdays and 200 on weekends. Once they sell out, you'll have to come back the next day. And remember to eat quickly! It melts really fast. But it not only looks good it tastes incredible, not overly sweet and flavorful!



[ Ginkgo Street in Gubei ]

Where: Gubei Huangjincheng Road Pedestrian Street 黃金城道步行街 (Get off at Gubei Road station and head south, you will see it 2 streets down on the left hand side)
Time: Open 24 hours

This pedestrian street is about 3 blocks of shops and some built in residential complexes. And the 2 sides are lined with Ginkgo trees that just light up the whole area in bright yellow. The last week of November and First week of December is the best time to go. Also, between the 2nd and 3rd section, there is a little garden shop in the middle that sells live Christmas trees and all kinds of beautiful Christmas decorations. 

Tip: Costa Coffee is also nearby, they do really cute Christmas drinks!  


[ Christmas Markets ]

Nov 29 - Dec 22: Shanghai German Group’s Christkindlmarkt Jing’an 
December 6 - 8: by Paulaner Brauhaus 
Dec 7 - Dec 25: by JingAn Kerry Center
Dec 19-25: BFC Mall by the Bund (with Merry Go Around)
Dec 21 - 25: Moller Villa Castle market 

Christkindlmarkt Jing’an 
Dates: Nov 29 - Dec 22
Location: Tong Le Fang (No 537 Hai Fang Road, near Xi Kang Road)
Hours: Mon - Fri 4pm - 9pm, Weekends 12pm - 9pm
Entry Fee: Free on weekdays, Weekend ¥60 and comes with free Mulled Wine 
Free gift: if you follow the Shanghai German WeChat page, they will give you a free Christmas hat or reindeer antlers

I'd say that this is a small-medium sized Christmas market, but what they sell here is definitely closest to the original Christmas markets you see in Europe. There are tons of ornaments, hand craft items, beer, mulled wine, and German bites. It was super crowded though, even on weekdays right when it opened. If you are going with a small child, strollers are not recommended. 



Paulaner Brauhaus 
Dates: Dec 6 - 8
Location: 555 Shibo Avenue, Pudong
Hours: See poster below
Entry Fee: ¥30, Free for children under 10 years old

I unfortunately didn't make it to this one since I was traveling with my son in Japan, but from the looks of it, this Christmas market is also medium sized and more traditionally set up to where it's authentic to the European markets. 

JingAn Kerry Center
Dates: Dec 7 - 25
Location: 1128 Yan'an Middle Road 
Hours: Weedays 11am - 9pm, weekend 12am - 11pm
Entry Fee: Free

This one is more commercial, since almost all of the booths were set up by a restaurant or shop within Kerry Center. But the decorations are beautiful, and they do have live music playing as well, so the Christmas atmosphere is definitely there. 



BFC Mall by the Bund (with Merry Go Around)
Dates: Dec 19 - 25
Location: BFC, the Bund Finance Center Mall (Near the Bund No. 16)
Hours: 1pm - 9pm
Entry Fee: Free, ¥30 for a ride on the Merry-Go-Round

BFC Mall was just opened recently, and this Christmas market is also one of the later ones. It does have a ton of booths, so on the larger scale end. There are a lot of  craft items being sold, beer/tea/mulled wine, and they have a Merry-Go-Round in the middle! 


Moller Villa Castle Christmas Market 
Dates: Dec 21-25
Location: 30 Shaanxi South Road (Jing An)
Hours: 2pm - 8pm
Entry Fee: ¥80 (Early Bird, comes with free mulled wine and snack) ~ ¥188 (on the day of), all tickets includes a free tour of inside the castle. 

This one is sponsored by a bunch of expat groups in Shanghai, and was also the most limited one. The early bird tickets sold out quickly, and the wait time for the tour is long. You can also pre-book to have afternoon tea or brunch inside the castle to skip the line. 

The market itself was really small, there were a handful of food stalls, some crafts and jewelry but that's about it. But the castle (hotel) itself is impressive.

New year concert

Another thing to do is go to a New Year Concert! There are tons of options so I won't list all of them here. They are generally held between Dec 28th - Jan 3rd. Most of the symphonies come from Europe, with several from Vienna. The best app to look for concerts and buy tickets is 大麦 Da Mai. 

I hope this helps those of you who are new to Shanghai to experience an amazing Christmas here. I wanted to go see all of them personally to get an authentic experience before I shared, so sorry the article was written after Christmas. Not to worry, almost all of these events repeat each year, so the dates will vary just slightly. 

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! 

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