Aside from decking your halls with tinsel and holly, there’s plenty to do in Hong Kong this December even before the Christmas celebrations begin. This month’s off to an electric start (literally) with the Formula E in Hong Kong, as well as the Hong Kong International Boat Show to sate any motorhead’s appetite. And before you take part in the spirited events at the end of the month — whether you’re planning to feast away, sit down for the yearly Nutcracker tradition by the Hong Kong Ballet, or enjoy the lights and festive decorations all across the city — be sure to browse many of the Christmas markets happening across town for whimsical ornaments and treats, as well as the various other cultural festivals happening city-wide.
When: Hullet House Christmas Market, 1–3 December; Tai Koo White Christmas Street Fair, through 2 December; Stanley Plaza Christmas Finnish Market, 9–10 & 16–17 December; Italian Christmas Market, 9–10 December
As far as we, and everyone is concerned, December = prime Christmas shopping time. To make sure you don’t leave your festive grocery and ornament shopping for the last second (again), you’ll want to make the most of the many Christmas markets on this month.
Hullet House’s atmospheric Christmas Market will be spreading the holiday cheer with plenty of traditional ornamental wares, from nutcrackers to baubles. You’ll also be able to can sip holiday beverages and sample gourmet snacks all under a romantic canopy of trees and red tents.
Over at Tong Chong Street, instead of the regularly scheduled Tong Chong Street Markets, you’ll find santa clauses, live music performances, and quirkily enough, a giant gingerbread man foosball tournament.
Missing this weekend? Head to the Stanley Plaza Christmas Finnish Market in the next few weeks to shop (and eat) your fill of tonttus, or Finnish Christmas brownies, as well as buy fairtrade and handmade Christmas ornaments from all over the world. If you’re more of a panettone kind of guy/gal, you’ll instead want to hit the Italian Christmas Market at PMQ, which is sure to be brimming with gourmet treats.
When: 1-3 December
If you ever wanted to see what Hong Kong’s most creative bunch has on their mind, head to deTour, Hong Kong’s long-running design festival. The 10-day festival is a yearly celebration of creative expression, featuring installations and exhibitions themed under this year’s focus on ‘harmonious chaos,’ concentrating on the overlooked beauty in imperfections. Playing on accidents, humourous observations and interactivity, highlight exhibits include ‘hé,’ a 14-metre-high light installation that responds to movement; ‘Real or Surreal,’ photographer Tommy Fung’s quirky photography show, including an interactive panel for you to create your own images; and ‘The Herbal Gas Lab,’ a room of balloons each filled with Chinese herbal tea gas, where visitors get to uncover each scent, and unlock a tea package prize to take home. There will also be a section for you to try your hand at making your own edible balloons — Alinea chef Grant Achatz can eat his heart out.
DeTour, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Boat Show
When: 1 December 2-6pm; 2-3 December 10am-6pm
Hong Kong weather makes it an excellent place to go yachting all year round. If you’re in the mood to see what it’s like to own one, you can tour the latest models this weekend at Club Marina Cove’s yearly International Boat Show, which has been running for 23 years! This year, the stars of the show are award season heavy-hitters that have swept countless accolades. These include the elegant Princess 75 Motor Yacht, the powerful Azimut Grande 27 Metri (pictured), and the massive flybridge Ferretti 850 ‘Tai He Ban’ Special Edition — one of the most breathtaking luxury flybridge yachts currently available. Whether you’re in the market for a new boat or you just love envisioning a day of relaxing out at sea, this is one event not to miss.
Club Marina Cove, 380 Hiram’s Highway, Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Thai Festival by Sansiri at Lan Kwai Fong
When: 2-3 December
While Hong Kong certainly isn’t lacking for delicious Thai food, Lan Kwai Fong is about to turn into the most authentic place to get it this weekend, as Thai property giant Sansiri heads up the hill to celebrate modern and traditional Thai culture — you might even catch a Northern folk dancing performance and a touch of Muay Thai. With over 50 booths, LKF will be refashioned as Little Bangkok, complete with a ‘floating market’ serving traditional eats, as well as stalls selling crafts such as handmade ceramics, jewellery, and everyone’s favourite Thai teas, as well as a pop-up store of Thai natural spa brand HARNN.
Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong
FIA Formula E Hong Kong E-Prix
When: 2-3 December
Price: HK$1,440–2,380 from Ticketflap
The Hong Kong E-Prix zips back into Hong Kong this month to open the Formula E season this year, returning with two races riding off of the success of the first debut last year. The track will start just right by the Central Harbourfront Event Space, looping from Tamar back to IFC, before twisting and turning through the harbourfront circuit and back. Along the way, there’ll be three grandstands for ticketed spectators, at Tamar Park, Lung Wo Road, and at the Observation wheel. Those looking to be the centre of all the action should head to the Allianz E-Village, which will host all the champagne celebrations with the winners, driver autograph sessions, as well as driving simulators and a mini EDM festival, so the party will be going strong. And for those who want some five-star pampering alongside? Sign up to our ticket giveaway for VIP access to the E-Motion lounge, located right at the start-finish line.
Hong Kong Formula E, Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16
When: 7 December, 6pm
Lighting up the Christmas tree is perhaps one of the most magical moments that we wait for all year. If you find yourself in Macau, head over to the Sofitel’s lobby bar to witness a grand lighting ceremony, complete with a traditional candle ritual, carolling, warm festive cheer and complimentary Christmas bites and drinks, including French mulled wine and Christmas cake, also known as the best way to settle into December!
RendezVous Lobby Bar, Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, Rua do Visconde Paco de Arcos, Macau, +853 8861 0016
When: 10 December
Every second Sunday of the month, Freespace Happening takes over West Kowloon’s bucolic Nursery Park for a relaxed day of live performances, arts and crafts. A fantastic excuse for a picnic with the whole family (pets included), this month’s Happening focuses on a great lineup of local musicians each bringing a distinctly jazzy flavour to the programme — from singer-songwriter Subyub Lee, pianist KJ Wong and local jazz/classical collective Nate Wong and the Wong Way Down Jazz Symphony. Aside from smooth tunes, you’ll also get to sample chill drinks, thanks to craft brewery Heroes Beer, which has created a unique ‘Freespace Hero’ dark IPA for the occasion. There’ll also be workshops on brewing mead by HK Brewcraft. Browse and shop at the monthly handicraft market, hear stories from adoptive families from Hong Kong Dog Rescue, and sit in on a Cantonese music and poetry jam while enjoying the peaceful harbour views.
Freespace Happening, Nursery Park, West Kowloon, Hong Kong
Thibaudet Plays Gershwin
When: 15–16 December, 8pm
Price: HK$180–480 from HK Phil
Lauded for his suave playing and with two Grammy nominations under his belt, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the Hong Kong Philharmonic for a playful two nights this December. Chances are, you’ve already heard his hands as the soloist behind Hollywood scores such as on Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He’ll be performing two hugely contrasting modern works: George Gershwin’s jazzy “I Got Rhythm” and the Hong Kong premiere of Chen Qigang’s east-meets-west concerto “Er Huang.” Principal guest conductor Yu Long will be conducting for the second half of the concert, featuring Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations.
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong
Taschen Pop-Ups at Potato Head and Duddell’s
When: Through to 15 December
The world’s most beloved coffee table art book publisher has made temporary retail homes out of two restaurants in town as equally charming and artful as itself. With the pop-ups taking place at Duddell’s private room (‘The Chamber’) and Potato Head’s boutique (‘Canaan’), patrons will get to eat and shop (or the other way round) from truly exceptional collections across the realms of art, architecture, design, style, food and travel, including many titles previously not available in Hong Kong. The offerings at both pop-ups slightly differ. At Potato Head, we’re particularly eyeing Salvatore Dalí’s surreal cookbook, ‘Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala,’ the late photographer Ren Hang’s eponymous photography book, and the limited edition ‘David Hockney: A Bigger Book,’ with only 9,000 copies printed. Over at Duddell’s, we’re craving for a peek of ‘Inside Chefs’ Fridges,’ as well as ‘Gustav Klimt: The Complete Paintings.’
Potato Head, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2858 6066
Duddell’s, 3/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 9191
Best of British Festival
When: 12–17 December
Six nights and days of total, amazing, unapologetic Britishness is waiting to take over Tamar Park this December with the return of the Best of British Festival. Most punters are there for the delicious pub grub, curries, and yes, the now internet-famous yorkshire pudding wraps, as well as a chance to sample limited edition whiskys from the UK. There are other unmissable events of course, such as The Great British Pub Quiz, live music performances, and outdoor cinema screenings of quintessential British films (Notting Hill, anyone?). Live streaming of The Ashes — the historic five-match cricket tournament series between England and Australia since 1882 — will also take place at the Crown & Anchor pub on-site. Free entry except for special events. See event schedule here.
Tamar Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong