Hey Guangzhouers: it's holiday time. You may have forgotten, seeing as our autumn is more like spring and our winter like the brief draft of cool air you feel when you open the freezer door. But shorts weather or not, it’s here, and if you don’t have a ticket home this year, it’s time to start thinking about decorating your apartment/office/classroom to be a bit more festive.
No matter how committed you are – i.e. you just want to hang a few lights or you want your place looking like the merry land of Whoville – we have you covered with the best places to shop in Guangzhou:
1. Daiso Japan
This affordable Japanese chain is located in the very back of Aeon in Popark Shopping Plaza next to the Guangzhou East Railway Station. Take the metro to east station (广州东站) and head towards the exit that leads directly into the mall – you don’t even have to go outside. Once you spot Aeon, walk all the way to the back of the supermarket and you’ll see Daiso tucked in the left corner next to Mannings. This shop carries inexpensive ornaments, miniature Christmas trees, Santa hats, reindeer antlers, gift boxes and more for RMB30 and under.
If you head to Daiso, make the most of your trip and stop in Aeon while you’re passing through. The home goods area features a collection of holiday decor next to the toy aisle. We found a large selection of inexpensive stockings, faux Christmas trees, ornaments, stickers, streamers, snowflakes, stuffed reindeers and more. Note that not every Aeon branch carries holiday decor – only the larger stores do – so plan accordingly.
In the same vicinity as Daiso and Aeon, Ikea stocks basic Christmas decorations during the month of December. Go early to avoid the crowds (and feuds with your significant other). Did we mention IKEA also stocks inexpensive smoked salmon and Belgian beer? If you’re hosting a holiday party, the grocery aisle may be worth a quick browse.
The go-to shop for foreign goods in Guangzhou, Olé offers plenty of Christmas and holiday decor, from snow globes and gingerbread houses to Santa figurines and gorgeous holiday wrapping paper. And unlike everything else sold at Olé, the holiday decorations are surprisingly affordable – a large wooden nutcracker, for example, was listed at just RMB48.
Also located in Taikoo Hui (upstairs from Ole), Fangsuo offers artistic ornaments, handmade wreaths, floral arrangements, intricate greeting cards and a wrapping station for extra-special gifts (we say extra-special because gift wrap for one package could set you back RMB50-100). If you still have Christmas shopping to do, Fangsuo also offers a wide selection of foreign books, handmade winter accessories, cool gadgets for phones or cameras and inventive kitchen goods, coffee mugs and tea sets.
6. Zara Home
Feeling classy? Stop by Zara Home in One Link Walk for silver and gold candlesticks, stars and ornaments to complement your apartment’s minimalist decor or a snazzy table setting. You’ll find unique holiday trinkets here that are relatively stylish but also pricy – we saw a paper ornament selling for RMB45 that you could easily make yourself with a piece of white paper and a gold pen.
If you live near G.T. Land Winter Plaza, head to BLT for a modest but complete selection of holiday goodies, including snowmen, Santas, wrapping paper, Christmas sugar cookies, gingerbread houses and more.
8. Bloom in December
Want a handmade festive wreath for your door? Look no further than Bloom in December – a boutique florist with a studio in Dongshankou. This shop adorns a handful of cafes in town (including Lock Chuck Coffee) with fresh flowers and is selling holiday wreaths this month just in time for Christmas. To order, add ‘bloom_in_december’ on WeChat (it’s a personal account, not an official one) and feel free to share your specific request for the color/style/size of your wreath.
WeChat ID: bloom_in_december
9. Wan Ling Plaza at Yide Lu (一德路)
Remember that street you visited to search for Halloween costumes? They’ve replaced the jack-o-lanterns and fake blood with tiny Santas, Christmas trees and wrapping paper to boot. Stroll outside along Yide Lu or venture into the covered part of the market across the street to find stalls crammed with merchandise.
Located in Guangzhou’s Liwan District, Lingnan Flower Market is likely the most reliable place in the city to find a real, genuine, piney Christmas tree. Turn right upon entering the market and you’ll find a host of tree retailers with such Chinese variations on the Christmas tree as luohan song and longbei song at prices equivalent to what you'd be paying for the fake alternative. Also, take a stroll through the flower section of the market and pick up some colorful Christmas decorations to complement that gorgeous tree.
Feel like shopping from the comfort of your couch? That’s cool. Start at baopals.com for an easy look at Christmas specials on Taobao (listed in English). If you want more selection and higher quality items, try Tmall. You can search for general Christmas decor (click here), large faux trees, LED Christmas lights, ornaments for the tree, colorful stockings, holiday wreaths, festive cookie cutters, wrapping paper and more. There’s also JD.com if you happen to have an account there.
With files from Bryan Grogan
[Cover image via easychristmascrafts.net]