When deciding where to sample the spirit of Christmas in Hong Kong, the Tangs had much to choose from. They could have visited the 20-foot-tall replica of Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia cathedral, designed by a Dutch paper sculptor, at the Elements mall in West Kowloon. Or they could have wandered among the 100 Nordman fir Christmas trees, shipped in from the Prince of Denmark's private estate, at the Pacific Place mall in the Central district. Or perhaps they could have viewed the two-story rotating wooden head created by street artist Michael Lau at the Times Square mall in the shopping mecca of Causeway Bay.
Instead, on a balmy Sunday night, the Tangs—father, mother and their 7-year-old boy—posed next to a giant, moving three-tiered cake decorated with purple glitter at the Harbour City mall near the Kowloon waterfront. A photographer snapped pictures as the family shuffled from the cake to a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree made up of oversized plastic champagne flutes to a large crystal teardrop, with the Hong Kong skyline in the background.
"We've been coming to Hong Kong for the past few years," says Mr. Tang, who hails from the nearby mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen. "We shop and take pictures and eat good food. Christmas is just better here."
Amid a bullish year-end shopping season in Hong Kong, the yuletide props have grown more extravagant—and less traditional—as shopping malls compete to win over cash-flush mainland Chinese tourists for whom Christmas is still a novelty.
"There are a lot of Rockefeller Centers in Hong Kong," says celebrity events designer Preston Bailey, who was recruited from New York to decorate the upscale Landmark shopping center. This season, he centered his decorations around Mrs. Claus—"the woman behind the man."
"New Yorkers should learn how to do better Christmas decorations," says Mr. Bailey, who was recently in Hong Kong to promote his designs. "I'll take back a few snapshots."
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