Taliban Christmas trees, Bethlehem disco carols, and other yuletide tales from the Monitor's vault

An excuse to shop in Beijing

  • close
    Children make 'Christmas cottages' with cookies and cream at a shopping mall in Huaibei, China, on Dec. 18.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

In a Beijing mall, Christmas tunes blared from the loudspeakers – perhaps unexpected in a country that still shuns spirituality and religion. But in China, Christmas isn’t about spirituality, it’s about shopping, and China’s malls in 2008 were happy for any excuse to bring in more shoppers. Monitor correspondent Jonathan Landreth described the scene:

The bright maze of cosmetics counters is festooned with green bunting. White-coated counter women wear mistletoe corsages. Downstairs a florist sells poinsettias, gold tinsel Christmas trees, and strings of flashing fairy lights.

"Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane," the PA system chimes.

It’s a similar scene in Thailand, where every December Santa stakes out a spot next to Buddha for a little while. As in China, Christmas in Thailand is a commercial affair, notes correspondent Tibor Krausz:

All around Bangkok, giant neon snowflakes, chubby snowmen, and full-size reindeer sleighs are everywhere. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” pipe nonstop from loudspeakers. Weeks before the holiday, a Christmasy atmosphere is in full swing in this predominantly Buddhist country.

Maybe you should book your next holiday ticket to India or Japan or Vietnam – they're all in on the Christmas festivities as well, according to this 2002 article from then-Asia bureau chief Robert Marquand.

2 of 4

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK