Going out for Christmas? We’ve got it covered. From evergreen festive favourites (*cough* The Nutcracker *cough*) to classical concerts, Christmas carols and a few wildcard choices… we’ve got something for everyone! Here’s our guide to all the best events over the Christmas period, so get our your diaries mamas – some of these are going to book up fast!
Skating under the stars
As part of Discover Hong Kong’s annual Winterfest celebrations, you can take to the ice with HK’s first open-air skating rink in a veritable Ice Wonderland! With Tsim Sha Tsui’s colourful Christmas lights in the background, it’s certain to get you in the festive spirit – and probably the closest we’re going to get to real snow here!
Where: UC Centenary Garden, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When: 25 November-1 January, see opening hours here
How much: Skate rental $15 afternoon session, $30 evening session
Theme park tidings
As usual, HK’s theme parks have festive cheer up their sleeves! Disneyland’s Sparkling Christmas sees Sleeping Beauty’s castle festooned in Christmas illuminations, a special Xmas parade and a few snowflakes drifting down too (plus a festive opportunity to check out their new Toy Story Land); Madame Tussauds has a Victorian Christmas featuring a new model of Madame Tussaud herself whilst Ocean Park has a major new area, Thrill Mountain, packed with exhilarating rides opening just in time for the holiday season!
Where: Disneyland, Lantau Island; Ocean Park, Aberdeen; Madame Tussauds, The Peak
When: Throughout December, see individual websites for start and end dates
How much: $160-399, concessions and ticket packages available
KAREN Kids Society Christmas Concert: A Celebration Of Life
KAREN Kids’ annual Christmas concert raises funds for displaced children from the Karen people in Thailand and also children affected by the Japanese earthquake. This year it features performances from popular Austrian soprano, Elisabeth Freudlinger, and piano soloist and chamber musician, Maki Namwekawa, and also includes a wonderful cocktail reception under the stars at St John’s Cathedral, one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful classical concert venues.
Where: St John’s Cathedral, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
When: 28 November, 7.30pm
How much: $488, from Tom Lee Music Stores in Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Shatin Home Square, call 2893 5928 for enquiries
Cirque Mechanics Birdhouse Factory
Get the festive season off and kicking with something a little bit different… Cirque Mechanics Birdhouse Factory promises to be a visual treat for all the family. Described as a cross between Cirque du Soleil and Stomp, it features high-flying acrobats, contortionists, comedians… and birdhouses!… in an enchanting thrill-packed story that’s come direct from the US with a string of rave reviews.
Where: Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts, 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
When: 30 November-4 December, 6-11 December; Tuesday-Friday, 7.45pm; Saturday 3pm & 7.45pm; Sunday 11am & 4pm
How much: $265-795
HKS For Kids: Christmas Magic
Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s Christmas concert features a fun-filled programme of festive tunes picked by veteran composer Peter Moore – from traditional carols to much-loved classical cuts (The Nutcracker of course!) and a few surprises too… Waltzing Matilda, anyone?! Plus, come dressed in your best Christmassy gear and you could be in with a chance of winning concert tickets by uploading your photos to the orchestra’s Facebook Page!
Where: HK City Hall Concert Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong
When: 2-3 December, 7.30pm; 3-4 December, 3pm
How much: $120, $180, $250, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Robin Hood: The Panto
The city’s one and only panto proper from the Hong Kong Players is the tale of Robin Hood and his merry men… OH NO, it isn’t! OH YES, it is! Expect crossbows and cross-dressing galore, laughs-a-plenty and enough audience interaction to last you until next year! This is always a sell-out, so get booking quicker than you can shout ‘HE’S BEHIND YOU!’
Where: Shouson Theatre, HK Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
When: 3 and 12 December, 2.30pm & 7.30pm; 4 December, 11am & 3.30pm, 8-9 December, 7.30pm; 11 December, 11am
How much: $290, $330, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
10th Classics For Kids Christmas Concert
The SAR Philharmonic aims to get even the littlest littlies to enjoy classical ‘Sweet And Romantic’ music with its annual Christmas concert, whilst also raising money for a rostrum of great charitable causes.
Where: Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
When: 4 and 11 December, 2.15pm & 5pm
How much: Adults $200, Children under 6 $170, www.hkticketing.com, 3128 8288
The Best Of Broadway
If endless renditions of The Nutcracker Suite and Jingle Bells aren’t your thing, how about a night filled with Broadway classics instead? Hong Kong Philharmonic’s The Best Of Broadway features three stage sensations – Christiane Noll, Debbie Gravitte and Doug LaBrecque – ready to wow you with everyone’s favourite musical theatre tunes. Including numbers from Les Misérables, Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia, Cabaret and Hairspray, you’ll probably still be humming along days after it’s over!
Where: Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When: 7-8 December, 8pm
How much: $140-380, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
A Glee-ful Kassia Christmas
Can’t get enough of Glee’s energy-bursting choral arrangements? HK’s much-loved amateur choirs from Kassia are putting on a night of festive entertainment, with their men’s and women’s choruses joining forces for double the fun, plus a special appearance from an a capella group too. You’ll be clapping along in no time!
Where: Theatre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, 111 Shau Kei Wan Road, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong
When: 8-9 December, 8pm
How much: $220, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
The Snowman & The Bear
A true festive favourite, Raymond Brigg’s Christmas classics, The Snowman and The Bear, are sure to melt your hearts! Telling the stories of a young boy’s snowman who comes to life and a young girl’s friendship with a polar bear through live music, narration and animated films, these tales totally capture the magic of Christmas… and you’ll probably have Walking In The Air stuck in your head throughout the rest of December too! I’ve got it in my head just writing about it!
Where: Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, Central; Tsuen Wan Town Hall Auditorium, 72 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
When: 10 December, 2.30pm & 5pm; 11 December, 2.30pm
How much: $150, $250, $350, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Christmas Cinema Classics
Catch some of your favourite festive films under the stars at Rooftop Cinema HK; their Christmas programme includes Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas on 12 December, the chance to unearth your potter’s wheel and raging Patrick Swayze crush to Ghost on 13 December and get all soppy and swoony with rom-com Love Actually on 14 December. Get your hankies out!
Where: 20/F FoFo M88 Building, 8 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
When: 12-14 December, 7.30pm (films start 8.30pm)
How much: $150, book here
The Wind In The Willows
Over the years, Alan Bennett’s adaptation of the childhood classic The Wind In The Willows has become a bit of a festive favourite – and Faust International Youth Theatre is staging a production just in time for Christmas! Go round the river bend with Ratty, Mole, Mr Badger and, of course, the irrepressible Toad of Toad Hall for a show that should entertain both audience members both young and old alike.
Where: Drama Theatre, HKAPA, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
When: 15-17 December, 7.30pm; 17-18 December, 2.30pm; 18 December, 11am
How much: Adults $270, Under 18s $220, www.hkticketing.com, 3128 8288
What Christmas event round-up would be complete without a performance of The Nutcracker?! Hong Kong Ballet is staging the perennial festive favourite – including a show on Christmas day itself! – so get your tutus ready to trill along to the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, battle with King Rat and fall in love with the Nutcracker Prince himself. There are also a number of special activities to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Nutcracker in HK, including an exhibition and make-a-wish Christmas tree in the foyer, a pre-performance talk on 16 December, a children’s workshop on 17 December and a post-show autograph session on Boxing Day; see here for further details and to register in advance.
Where: Grand Theatre, HKCC, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When: 16-18, 20-24 December, 7.30pm; 17, 18, 24-26 December, 2.30pm
How much: $120-1000, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Fantastic Journey @ Xmas
One for the kids, although anyone over the age of 3 is more than welcome to attend, Fantastic Journey @ Xmas by Jumbo Kids Theatre tells the story of one little girl’s exciting journey on a magical Christmas train. Presented in Cantonese only – so get your little ones sharpening up on their Canto skills!
Where: Cultural Activities Hall, Tuen Mun Town Hall, 3 Tuen Hi Road; Theatre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, 111 Shau Kei Wan Road, Hong Kong
When: 16-17 & 23-24 December, 8pm; 18 & 25 December, 3pm
How much: $100-130, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Scrooge – The Musical
This musical retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has quickly worked its way into theatre-goers hearts to become yet another firm festive favourite. Scrooge: The Musical, as performed by Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, tells the familiar tale of Scrooge, Marley, Tiny Tim et al – but with super song and dance numbers sprinkled throughout! With special countdown performances on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, this is a musical good enough for any Christmas – past, present or future! Presented in Cantonese, but with English song lyrics and surtitles for the dialogue.
Where: Hong Kong City Hall Theatre, Central, Hong Kong
When: 17-18, 20-21, 23, 25-7, 29-30 December, 1-2 January 8pm; 18 & 27 December, 2 January 2.30pm; 24 & 31 December, 9.15pm
How much: $200-320, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
A Thankful Christmas
Hong Kong Oratorio’s Christmas concert features a festive programme of popular classics by Handel, selections from Messiah, an Organ Concerto and an audience Christmas carol sing-a-long – plus much more!
Where: Concert Hall, HKCC, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When: 18 December, 8pm
How much: $100-400, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Symphony of Christmas Angels
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s traditional seasonal offering features Hong Kong’s Children’s Choir, special guest soprano Elvira Fatykhova and host and conductor Guy Noble, all raising the rafters with a bill of classic Christmas tunes and carols for an unforgettable Yuletide evening.
Where: Concert Hall, HKCC, Hong Kong
When: 23-24 December, 8pm
How much: $140-380, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
A Capella Christmas
A 45-minute free show of festive songs from The Contemporary A Capella Society Of Hong Kong (that means no instruments, just voices) performed by Posibella, The Charms and Gliss, KKOK and Songbird – just in time to get you in the mood for Christmas Day itself!
Where: Foyer, HKCC, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When: 24 December, 3pm
How much: Free
Celebrate Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with this stunning circus show from the Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China (plus a family workshop on 27 December) – expect plenty of death-defying stunts and breath-taking acrobatics, including aerial gymnastics, soft-wire walking, juggling with feet, pole trampolining and in a somewhat bizarre-sounding stunt unique to China, a mass performance of people balancing bowls on their head! We’re out of breath just thinking about it… certainly puts our measly forward rolls to shame!
Where: Tuen Mun Town Hall, 3 Tuen Hi Road; Sha Tin Town Hall, 1 Yuen Wo Road; Yuen Long Theatre, 9 Yuen Long Tai Yuk Road
When: 24-26 December, 7.30pm; 27 December, 3pm
How much: $100-220, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Aaron Kwok de Showy Masquerade World Tour
Fancy seeing your Christmas in with one of Cantopop’s Four Heavenly Kings? Well, you’re in luck as Aaron Kwok, renowned for his nifty dance-moves and trend-starting hairstyles (yes… really!), is bringing his world tour to Hong Kong just in time for the festive season! If his show costumes are anywhere near as crazy as what he’s wearing on the poster, they should be worth ticket price alone!
Where: Hong Kong Colisseum, 9 Cheong Wan Road, Hung Hom, Hong Kong
When: 18-30 December, 8.15pm; 31 December, 9.30pm
How much: $200, $380, $680, www.urbtix.hk, 2111 5999
Don’t forget the shopping malls!
If you’re too busy doing your last minute Christmas shopping to fit in any of these festive shows, never fear – Hong Kong’s huge number of shopping malls have got you sorted! Almost all of them will be offering festive entertainment to keep you amused during your Xmas shopping spree; it might be carol-singing, it might be Broadway dance troupes, it might be appearances from Santa, his reindeers or some b-list local celeb, or knowing HK malls, it might be something even weirder… yet it’s definitely a good excuse to rest your feet and lap up some festive cheer! Check individual mall’s schedules for details but trust us, even the smallest shopping centres will have something up their sleeves!
Most churches will offer a number of Christmas services throughout the festive period, including carol concerts, the nativity play, lessons and carols by candlelight, a Christmas Eve crib service that is suitable for young families and Midnight Mass. Contact your local church to find out what’s on and when – and if you’re not sure which one that might be, check out these fairly comprehensive lists below!
Catholic Churches: www.catholic.org.hk
Anglican/Episcopal Churches: www1.hkskh.org/index_en.php
The Church of Jesus Christ & The Latter Day Saints: www.lds.org.hk/en/
When: Throughout December
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our bumper Christmas fair guide too!