Saturday, December 22, 2012

To Market We Go…

After my Easter experience, I was afraid that Christmas in Shanghai would be like Whoville after the Grinch stole all the trimmings and trappings. I am happy to report I was wrong; the Chinese know how to spread Christmas cheer (in an extremely secular way).

One way the Chinese celebrate the holiday season is by housing European style Christmas markets.  Once I spotted these markets on Smart Shanghai, I needed to check it out!

The first market Chris and I visited was the Christkindlmarkt on Fenyang Rd.  
Welcome to German expat heaven.
According to Chris, this market was extremely similar to the German Christmas markets in Stuttgart.  I think every German living in Shanghai came out to experience a bit of home.  For a couple of hours we got lost in the land of Christmas trinkets, brats, and gluhvein.

Many of the vendors had all sorts of Christmas goodies!

Nutcrackers were very popular at the market.
I suddenly feel eating like a slice of pizza...
Gluhwein is warm, spiced, red wine. It is like Christmas in a cup!
The potato dumplings and kraut were tasty!
This was my lunch.  The brat was AWESOME!
This little guy was loving his hot dog!
We picked up a couple of these ornaments for 6RMB (about $1).
While we had a great time at Christkindlmarkt, we didn’t find the decorations we wanted.  So the following weekend we headed to Yu Gardens to check out their loot.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Yu Gardens looked like the North Pole had bombed it.  Garland and ornaments were everywhere. 

After taking our first lap around the market, I took Chris to the restaurant where I had my first Yum Cha date.  There was a little more talking than my first time dining here.

He's much cuter than my first date.

After lunch, it was back to shopping.
There were boxes of garland everywhere.  I was amazed that none of it got tangled.
Some of the reindeer lost their antlers, bless their hearts.  
Luckily we were able to pick up some decorations for our door.
It's not the Grizwalds, but it will do. 
While Yu Gardens was nice, there was one more market we wanted to visit, the Shanghai Christmas Market at Xintandi. 
The lights were very pretty.
The carousel at Xintandi park was dressed up for the occasion.
This was the first market where Santa Claus made a visit.  Apparently visiting Santa is a very American custom.  Notice the kids don't sit on Santa's lap, and there is no line to see Santa.  The kids just mob around him.
Chris poses with one of the creepy candy mascots.  He wasn't happy that I made him  wear his new (free) Santa hat.
Chris picked up a couple of champagne flutes from a vendor that was selling candles and slippers that you can heat in the microwave.  
While the lights were nice, many of the vendors were not exactly festive.
Ice Cream at an outdoor Christmas market?  That made no sense to me.  At least it wouldn't melt in the cold weather.

One of the high points of my night was when Chris bought me measuring spoons.  These are VERY difficult to find!
Yes, I am sure people were Gangman Styling it at the birth of Christ.
Overall, we had a good time at the markets.  They put us very much in the holiday spirit.