My December delights

My December delights

We might not have white Christmases in Hong Kong, but this month offers many ways to get in a festive mood

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With the spirit of Christmas wafting in the cooler air, here are 10 things we love about the last month of 2010.

Cool weather

The city's annoying humidity is finally on its way out, so we can embrace the cooler air. It's time to enjoy the one time of year when you can put on a big scarf and trendy winter fashions without sweating. Average December temperatures are about 12 degrees Celsius, says the Hong Kong Observatory. Very cool - although not cool enough for a white Christmas.

Hotpot

There's no better way to stay warm than to sit around a boiling pot as you indulge in all sorts of delicious food you cook yourself - meatballs, shrimps, beef and dumplings - while chatting to your family and friends. Tired of the traditional style? Japanese shabu-shabu and Swiss cheese fondue are great alternatives.

Hibernation

Some animals hibernate to get through the severe cold weather - and we are no exception. What's better than forgetting about work, hiding under a warm and cosy blanket and taking a lazy nap on a cold afternoon? (Warning: hibernate only once work and exams are over!)

Family time

December is an important time of year for families and relatives to get together. As well as Christmas, we celebrate the winter solstice festival (dongzhi) on December 22 - the shortest day of the year - with a grand reunion dinner and the making of glutinous rice balls, which symbolise reunion.

Hot chocolate

When the winter blues creep in, a good old cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows is a perfect seasonal pick-me-up. It gives an instant blast of warmth to your cheeks, warm your hands if you hold the cup tight and cheer you up from head to toe. Nostalgic Hong Kong-style drinks - hot Vitasoy in glass bottles or silky milk tea - might work, too.

Sounds of joy

Even though Christmas is still a few weeks away, it's not hard to find yourself immersed in the sound of the season thanks to the Christmas carols and jingles heard playing in shopping malls and MTR stations, or with lively chats with friends about your big holiday plans. These are sounds to warm your heart and cheer you up, no matter how tough the rest of life may seem.

Festival decoration

December is also a feast for the eyes, what with all the kaleidoscopic festival decorations. Take a stroll along the harbour promenade for the splendid Christmas neon lights that brighten up the city's night skyline, or simply go to Statue Square in Central to see the stunning 30-metre high Swarovski crystal Christmas tree.

Boots and scarves

It's time to say goodbye to summer sandals and a great big hello to this season's trendy boots and smart scarves. A pair of over-the-knee or comfy sheepskin Ugg boots are just what you need to keep your feet warm and fashionable. You might also want to glam up with a stylish crochet scarf and a woollen beret or bobble hat.

Gingerbread

Gingerbread is one of our favourite things during the festive season. The classic chewy cookies, made with ginger, cloves and cinnamon, are great at any time of year, but somehow taste best in December. Spend an afternoon designing and baking your own gingerbread house with your friends and family.

With so much to see and do this month, make time for yourself and your friends. Enjoy!

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