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Sales bring festive joy to traders from shops and mall owners to eateries
Days before the end of 2012, 19-year-old college student Wang Xiao planned to celebrate the new year holiday with her close friends.
Are Chinese big spenders? In Chinese cities not being disturbed and staying alone during holidays is more difficult than people might think because all the shopping malls and restaurants, both big and small, remind people of the special occasion. [Photo/China Daily]
Wang went to a Thai restaurant on New Year's Eve for dinner with her friends and then to the countdown to midnight at The Place, a shopping center in Beijing that has a huge TV screen on its ceiling.
"Although Christmas and New Year are traditionally Western holidays that are not as important as Chinese Lunar New Year holiday to Chinese people, they are important for me. I must spend some happy hours with good friends," said Wang.
Instead of enjoying spicy food, Fang Wen, a 22-year-old white collar worker, had a theme party on Christmas eve.
"I invited some of my co-workers and college room mates to come over for a party," she said.
In contrast, 36-year-old IT manager Qu Jian skipped big dinners and festive gatherings to go shopping during the holiday to "reward myself".
"I was too tied up most days last year so I felt like burning some money to cheer myself up. Plus there are holiday sales," said Qu.
Worldwide, only 9 percent of people planned to sleep through the dawn of the new year. The other 91 percent planned to be doing something to celebrate the ringing in of 2013, according to a recent poll by the Paris-based research company Ipsos.
Many people were expecting a social evening. Four in 10 (39 percent) intended to have a gathering of close friends or family. Two in 10 (22 percent) planned to go to the home of a friend or family member to count down the new year. One in 10 (11 percent) intended to go out to a special place or gathering to watch fireworks, while 6 percent intended to go out to a restaurant for a special dinner, said the report.
"In Chinese cities such as Beijing, not being disturbed and staying alone during holidays is more difficult than people might think because all the shopping malls and restaurants, both big and small, remind you of the special occasion," said Qu.
The entrance to Yansha Youyi Shopping City, also known as Beijing Lufthansa Center, was decorated with neon lights spelling out "Merry Christmas" in nine languages and staff gave out free chocolate and imported wine to customers who spent more than 10,000 yuan ($1,603) a day.
Oriental Plaza was decorated with white arches on the front door. Door handles were wrapped with gold-colored cloth.
"Christmas and new year in China are more of a commercialized celebration. Many people are willing to go out, celebrating or giving gifts," said Guan Shijie, an expert on cross-cultural communication at Peking University. "That's why many department stores and supermarkets followed the trend."
A manager of a 7-Eleven said the convenience store had sold many Christmas cakes, with prices ranging from 98 yuan to 198 yuan, especially strawberry and Tiramisu cakes. "We started booking in mid-November. The sales have been great," he said.