It’s Christmas in the city…

From karaoke singers in the streets to snowmen in front of hotels, Hanoi likes to get in the Christmas spirit. An unexpected rush of holiday decorations has sprung up around the city over the past few weeks, and I’m enjoying it. “Another holiday to celebrate? Lights to put up? Gifts to buy and give? Bring it on!” Hanoians seem to say.

There’s a famous shopping street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter named Hang Ma. It sells the decorations of the season. Over moon festival time you could find star and fish lanterns. At the end of October, masks and costumes for Halloween. And, nearing Christmas time, artificial trees, wreaths, Santa suits, and decorations of all kinds sprouted from the shops that line the narrow, motorbike-clogged street.

(click on the photos to view at larger size)

Lights, ornaments, and trees are up all around the city, especially in the atriums of shopping malls, the entryways of apartment buildings, and the lobbies of hotels both grand and grungy. Santa is everywhere on his sleigh, it seems, and schoolchildren here anticipate his visit on Christmas Eve night just as much as in the US. There’s even famous landmarks from America sprinkled into the decorations. It makes me feel right at home.

(click on the photos to view at larger size)

So, all in all, I’m having a great first Christmas in Hanoi. Now I have to go put on my reindeer antler headband and sing some caroling karaoke. Happy holidays to all!