Christmas is not celebrated as widely or in the same manner as people in the West, however, Chinese people have put their own twist on the festive holiday.
Christmas Day (Another Chinese Valentine's Day)
Christmas in China is not a holiday linked Christianity. In fact, it is not a public holiday at all! Christmas is considered as a novelty day, much alike Valentine's Day, where younger couples gift each other with company and gifts. Many see Christmas as a perfect time for a romantic getaway holiday or a time to prepare gifts to win over their partners.
The importance of an apple at Christmas
An apple is given as a gift amongst Chinese people has emerged as a tradition. This is because in Chinese, an apple is called 苹果 píngguǒ /ping-gwor. The word 'ping' is said in the same way as the word 'peace' in Mandarin. This is used in the Chinese for Christmas Eve and the carol “Silent Night” (平安夜 Píng'ān Yè 'Peaceful Evening'). Therefore, people will gift and eat apples on Christmas Eve and throughout the festive period. Often apples are sold with messages of 'love', love hearts, and 'peace' in Chinese printed on the apple skin.
What gifts are given?
In China's larger cities e.g. Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, many children will hang up stockings for Santa Claus (Chinese: Dun Che Lao Ren AKA Christmas Old Man). Gift baskets of food and other such items are given to hosts from guests when visiting friends and families. Instead of gifts, often red envelopes (hung bao) filled with lucky money and gifted.