Now is the time of year when those around us are filled with excitement about their winter holiday trips, whether it be international and Mainland students eager to be going home for the first time since August or our local friends taking vacations to celebrate the end of another semester.  But what about those of us who are staying in Hong Kong for the winter break?  Never fear.  Here are some great free or very inexpensive ways to enjoy a Hong Kong“staycation”:

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  • Check out the extravagant holiday displays around town.  And what better place to start than Festival Walk?  Once again, the 21-metre Christmas tree is back!   Cityplaza will feature performances by an ice-skating magician, along with acrobatic performances by former Cirque Du Soleil performers.  Perhaps most impressive is the display that runs through Alexandra House, Exchange Square, Jardine House, Prince's Building and The Landmark.  World-renowned events designer Preston Bailey has created “Santa's Glistening Garden” throughout them all. There’s also a 30-metre Christmas tree in Central’s Statue Square made entirely of over 20,000,000 Swarovski crystals!
  • Grab some friends and get your photo taken with Santa Claus. He can be found at Times Square, Festival Walk and Pacific Place, where America’s most famous Santa Claus, Ricky Baldwin, will be from 10 – 25 December.  Up to 4 people can have their picture taken with Mr Baldwin for HK$60.  Split 4 ways, that’s only $15 per person!
  • Marvel at the city’s annual Christmas lights display from the boardwalk in Tsim Sha Tsui. For an even more spectacular view, head up to The Peak after dark.
  • Play in the fake snow at Ngong Ping.  For the entire month of December, Ngong Ping will be pumping in this iconic wintery goodness for visitors to enjoy.  And don’t forget to check out their free Christmas crafts workshop! 
  • Rent a holiday movie from the CityU library and watch it with your friends.
  • Try your hand (or rather, your feet!) at ice-skating in Festival Walk.
  • Help decorate Madame Tussaud.  From the 20 – 25 December, guests can help deck the halls of this world-famous wax museum. 

If you’re as tired of seeing Christmas decorations as I am by the time the holiday actually rolls around, check out the Hong Kong Food Festival at the Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 24 – 27 December for a change of pace.   And don’t miss the New Year’s countdown celebration at Victoria Harbour, if celebrating with millions of your closest friends (and trust me, they’re going to be close) is what you’re after.

Don’t be disheartened about staying in Hong Kong over the holidays.  Although a wintery getaway might sound like more fun, there are plenty of festive (and free!) ways to have an amazing holiday right here in Hong Kong.  See you there!