Photo: Christmas trees decorated in various colors
When the Christmas season comes to Korea, festive lights adorn the streets and the air is filled with Christmas carols. Supermarkets, department stores, shopping malls and hotels set up unique decorations to maximize the Christmas spirit for customers. Korea’s major theme parks also plan out Christmas festivals that continue into the new year. A highlight of these festivals are the parades, featuring all sorts of characters, performances and music shows, as well as dazzling Christmas trees ornate with fascinating Christmas lights. Check out some of the places and performances that can make your Christmas a romantic one to remember.
Photo: Model train village display at Millennium Seoul Hilton (Credit: Millennium Seoul Hilton)
Every Christmas, visitors’ eyes are drawn to the model train village at Millennium Seoul Hilton; 2016 marks their 21st anniversary of this display. The model trains are not only beautiful to look at, they also serve as a charity fundraising project, with the money raised going to social welfare facilities. Located at the fountain area of the hotel's lower lobby, the layout features a stunning display of trains amid a wintery landscape of mountains and small communities. Visitors will feel as if they are at Santa’s village, enjoying souvenirs and holiday snacks at Milton Station House and taking photos with Santa Claus. The event runs until January 15, 2017.
Photo: Christmas tree and decorations inside Grand Hyatt Seoul (Credit: Grand Hyatt Seoul)
Located in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Seoul, a Christmas tree spangled with colorful LED lights illuminates the surrounding lobby and decorations throughout the hotel create a festive Christmas holiday atmosphere. In particular, the vivid red poinsettias beneath the bright chandeliers create an outstanding Christmas aura, serving as perfect backdrops for photos to send along with well-wishes to family and friends. Visitors with a bit more time can enjoy a romantic evening at the hotel’s ice skating rink. The rink provides a beautiful view of Seoul’s nightscape, accented by thousands of tiny lights strung through the trees.
Photo: Christmas display featuring Gaspard & Lisa at Lotte Young Plaza (Credit: Lotte Department Store)
This year's Christmas theme at Lotte Department Store features the Christmas celebrations of Gaspard and Lisa, adorable characters created by a French artist-couple. The exterior of Lotte Young Plaza and the show windows throughout the department store are decorated with lights and displays of Gaspard and Lisa. Highlights sure to please are the lovely photo booth and the large pop-up book.
Photo: Shinsegae Department Store’s main branch decorated for Christmas (Credit: Shinsegae Department Store)
Shinsegae Department Store has decorated for Christmas with a classic look. The bright star atop the grand tree serves to light the way for shoppers through the dark night. Other decorations sure to please are the lights in the shape of Christmas presents, changing colors in time to Christmas carols.
Photo: Times Square’s grand Christmas Tree Zone (Credit: Kyungbang Times Square)
A large Christmas Tree Zone is installed at the outdoor plaza of Kyungbang Times Square. In addition to the large tree, other attractions include a starlight garden, a village of red-roofed houses and Christmas tin soldiers to create a feeling of the Christmas season. Special events and a Santa music performance will take place on Christmas and Christmas Eve.
Photo: Christmas decorations adorn Galleria Luxury Hall’s exterior (Credit: Galleria Department Store)
Galleria Luxury Hall is decorated this year in the theme “This is Christmas! The reinterpretation of Christmas,” showcasing the luxury brand Bulgari. Seoul is one of just six cities worldwide to feature this special lighting display of “Serpenti Lighting,” representing wisdom and eternity, wrapping around the exterior of Galleria Luxury Hall. The entire display, using over 90,000 lights, creates a minimalistic-yet-extravagant atmosphere.
Photo: Christmas tree brightening Seoul Plaza (Credit: Christian Television System)
This year, the Christmas tree at Seoul Plaza lit up on November 27. Under the theme of “Green Christmas,” the towering tree is decorated with energy-saving LED lights, illuminating the surrounding plaza. The lighting runs from 17:00 until midnight, shorter than last year. Next to the giant tree, tiny trees can be lit up by electricity generated through pedaling on a bicycle, showing the importance of saving energy. These trees will hold the feelings of festivity and excitement in the air until January 8, 2017.
Photo: A statue of Mary surrounded by lights at Myeong-dong Cathedral
Myeong-dong Cathedral is the largest Gothic-style building in Korea's modern architecture history. The cathedral is located in Myeong-dong, Seoul's trendiest shopping district. During the Christmas season, the area surrounding the cathedral shimmers brightly with decorations that portray a message of thanks and blessing. Among the decorations, the main focus is a manger, representative of the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem. An infant Jesus will be put in the manger by the priests on the eve of Christmas in a ritual which is open to the public.
Photo: Scenes of Lotte World Christmas Miracle (Credit: Lotte World Adventure)
Lotte World will host holiday festivities with the theme of a Christmas Miracle. The highlights of this year’s festival are the indoor Miracle Santa Village and the outdoor night show “Castle of Miracle.” In particular, Santa Village features a large Christmas tree shaped like Santa. Visitors can enjoy a variety of fun Christmas activities, from Santa dancing with fairies in the Happy Christmas Parade to caroling concerts to musicals and more.
Photo: Everland Christmas Fantasy views (Credit: Everland)
The Christmas Fantasy festival at Everland started on November 24. This year, the festival is held in connection with the lighting festival Romantic Illumination. The 26 meter tall romantic tower tree, boasting vibrant lights, sets the mood for both festivals. From the entrance, visitors will be guided into the park along the 500-meter-long Christmas Avenue, Ever Milky Way illuminated by 120,000 LED lights, and real trees on “Christmas Tree Street.” Artificial snow will fall during White Christmas Parade, where visitors can dance along to carols. Each night of the festival will be as bright as day thanks to the one million lights shining during the Moonlight Parade.
Photo: Seoulland Christmas Festival (Credit: Seoulland)
Seoulland is hosting the Christmas Festival – Santa Run. During the festival period, visitors can enjoy a variety of great Christmas events, special Christmas performances, and a fantastic magic show. Among the performances, families will enjoy watching The Nutcracker, blending ballet, jazz, acrobatics and more. In addition, Light Fantasy Show is not to be missed, creating a romantic atmosphere with music and lights.
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* This column was last updated in December 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.