Christmas on Taobao: 5 Most Popular Online Holiday Goods in China

When you live in a country that doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas, people are bound to interpret the holiday in both familiar and fascinating new ways. That includes the goods people associate with Christmas.

Alibaba’s Taobao, one of the most popular online shopping platforms, can offer a unique window into how Christmas looks and feels here in China, through online products. And since I’m a frequent Taobao user, I’d like to share the top 5 best-selling online holiday goods in China that come up when you search for 圣诞 (shèngdàn), the Chinese word for Christmas.

#5: Christmas hats (Santa caps and reindeer antler headbands)

Even in China, people love to dress up for the season, and it shows, given that Christmas hats are the fifth most popular product on Taobao. While some of the Christmas hats appear a tad too busy for my tastes, you can still find traditional Santa caps, which are always in style and come at a bargain price of only 1.1 yuan (~$0.15).

#4: Star-shaped LED Christmas lights

Starry, starry strings of LED lights have shot into the hearts of many Chinese, and become a Christmas favorite, ranking No. 4 on this list and No. 1 when it comes to lights. A 2-meter-long string of these star-shaped LED Christmas lights will set you back 4.80 yuan ($0.70) .

#3: Christmas window decorations

Holly, jolly sets of everything from a grinning Santa and Frosty the Snowman to Christmas trees and holiday greetings are what many Chinese want to add to their windows for this Christmas season. You’ll often see such decorations cheering up storefronts in China, but they also appear on the windows of apartments too, to add a little Christmas spirit. The most basic set of decorations from the top seller runs for just 4.9 yuan ($0.70).

#2: Gift boxes for “Christmas Eve Apples”

As I wrote on WWAM BAM in the post Seeing Christmas Through the ‘Apple’ of China’s Eyes, I’ve discovered over the years how giving apples on Christmas Eve has become a holiday tradition among many young people in China. So naturally, it has spawned an entire industry of products – gift boxes. This shouldn’t surprise anyone accustomed to gift-giving in China, where packaging really matters. Anyhow, those interested in partaking in this uniquely Chinese tradition could buy a set of 24 festive apple boxes for as little as 6.80 yuan ($1).

#1: Christmas tree

In China, people still keep it traditional for the holidays, as their No. 1 must-have for the season remains the Christmas tree, that most cherished and indispensable of all Christmas decorations. And because this is Taobao, it’s incredibly easy on your budget. The leading seller for Christmas trees can deliver a 1.5-meter-high plastic tree with all the trimmings (ornaments and lights) for as little as over 26.80 yuan ($3.80).

What do you think of the 5 most popular Christmas items on Taobao? Which one would you like to buy?

Jocelyn Eikenburg
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