If you’re still looking for Christmas decorations 装饰品 (zhuāng shì pǐn), you can find almost anything you need at Golden Five Stars 金五星 (jīn wǔ xīng). It’s a huge indoor market that has everything and anything from plastic forks to pingpong balls to fabric by the meter to office supplies to bedding to long cow-shaped gel-filled wrist rests. The one I went to is the one closer to 3rd Ring Road. Take bus 319 or 86 from 五道口 (wǔ dào kǒu) and get off at 青云路 (qīng yún lù). Walk in the direction that the bus is going for about 5 minutes and the market will be on your right. Alternatively, take bus 101 or 425 from Dazhongsi subway station 大钟寺城铁 (dà zhōng sì chéng tiě) and get off at 大钟寺 (dà zhōng sì). It’s only one stop.
I got tinsel 圣诞彩条 (shèng dàn cǎi tiáo) of different colors at less than 3rmb for each strand, plastic trees 圣诞树 (shèng dàn shù), all kinds of lights 圣诞彩灯 (shèng dàn cǎi dēng) in the shapes of reindeer 圣诞驯鹿 (xùnlù), tiny plastic Santas 圣诞老人 (shèng dàn lǎo rén) in different colors, drums, presents, antlers 鹿角, multi-colored lights in the shapes of Chinese bottle gourds?!?!!?? 葫芦 (hú lú) in different colors. I paid 5 rmb for a 3 meter strand. You can also get snowflakes 雪花 (xuě huā), banners, and almost anything you can think of.
Of course, bargaining, 讨价还价or 讲价钱 (tǎo jià hái jià or jiǎng jià qián) is a prerequisite. Try, “Can’t you go a little lower?” 能不能便宜点儿? (néng bú néng biàn yí diǎn ér?) It’s a great place to practice your Chinese/learn more Chinese. You can go around the various stalls and ask the shop owners, 这个叫什么? (zhè gè jiào shěn me?)
If you have some time, some of the other stalls have Christmas cards 圣诞贺卡 (shèng dàn hè kǎ) and other odd knickknacks that might be good presents. It’s a great place to pick up gifts for white elephant gift exchanges and a fun place to browse if you have a few hours. It’s best to go on the weekdays to avoid the crowds.
If you’d rather go after Christmas to get decorations for next year you might get a steeper discount on the after-season stock. No guarantees, though.
Although Christmas isn’t about presents at all, it’s encouraging to get a thoughtful gift from someone who cares about you. I hope that you’ll be able to say, “Thanks for your present!” 谢谢你的礼物 (xiè xiè nǐ de lǐ wù!) many times this season.
(zhù dà jiā shèng dàn kuài lè!)
Merry Christmas, everyone!