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Santa is coming and China takes a lot more notice

By Shi Jing and Li Xinzhu (China Daily)

10:42, December 24, 2012

The first Christmas market in Xintiandi in downtown Shanghai. From Dec 19 to New Year's Day, the European-style Christmas market combines China's New Year festival with a traditional festive European bazaar. Provided to China Daily

"Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat."

It's the opening two lines of a traditional Christmas ditty but in this instance it is symbolic of what's happening in the world: The old man is in China and what he needs is more domestic consumption.

The good news at a time of year that celebrates the birth of Christ, also known as Jesus and the Messiah, is that China has latched on to this festive season as yet another way of luring customers into shops and opening wallets and purses.

Unfortunately for China, Fang Dun, an independent public relations specialist based in Shanghai, plans to upgrade her diving license in Hawaii this yuletide - and her New York-based banker husband will not accompany her. Some wives who like shopping would be grateful for that.

"It really does not matter if there is anyone going with me. I won't change my Christmas plans in any way," said the 29-year-old.

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