Tis the season, Yangonites! Christmas time is here. We know everyone will be busy while getting their jobs done before the holidays arrive. Some of you may have planned ahead for a joyful Christmas Eve but some may not. For those who have yet to make plans, this is our essential guide for feeling festive in Yangon during the Christmas season.
Buy A Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is a must in every household, whether Christian or Buddhist. It’s almost 2020 – come on guys! Grab one from CityMart supermarkets or, if you live in Sanchaung or Pazundaung, head to Spirits Accessories or Sweet Heart Fancy Shop for your desired size of Christmas tree. These stores will also offer all necessary colorful ornaments and lights accessories in one place. The moral of the story: it’s not so hard to get a Christmas tree in Yangon nowadays (despite the fact that many, if not all, of them are artificially made…)
Prices start from 16,500 Kyats.
Queue Up Your Christmas Playlist
It’s like a cigarette and a lighter. It won’t feel as complete as Christmas unless you have a Christmas playlist. These days, international music subscription services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, JOOX and Youtube offer a huge number of playlists of all genres. Sort out one of these subscriptions and curate your own cheesy playlist for the yuletide. JOOX and Youtube are free in Myanmar.
Here is the list of the most famous Christmas songs of the decades.
- All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- It’s Beginning To Look Like A Christmas – Johnny Mathis
- Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
- Jingle Bells – Love to Sing
- Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
- Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
- Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Make Gingerbread Cookies
Ever wondered how to make these Christmas gingerbread cookies? Well if you’ve tried before, I bet you absolutely love Christmas holidays. For those of you who haven’t tried yet, don’t worry! There are tutorials all over the internet – simply jump into your kitchen and get baking! I recommend www.gimmesomeoven.com. Here’s where to get your ingredients and supplies in central Yangon:
- Baker’s Mart Myanmar – 69/131, Maha Bandula Road, Botahtaung Tsp
- STK Bakery Supply Shop – B4, Aung San Stadium (North), Gyo Phyu Street, Mingala Taung Nyunt Tsp
Tel: 09 260 247 771
- Star Bakery Equipment Supplier – 277, Bo Aung Kyaw Road, Middle block, Kyauktada Tsp
Tel: 01 381075
If you are feeling more adventurous than simply baking cookies, why not go all the way and cook a Christmas dinner for your family. There are many Christmas classics, and I’m sure everyone has a good idea of what they’d like to prepare. Roasted meats, pies, potatoes, hams, Foie Gras and many more rich and decadent treats – with Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to think about what you are going for. When serving delicious appetizers to sweet desserts be warned! If you serve your loved ones these tasty dishes as part of your holiday spread it is highly likely that they will demand to have it back year after year.
Here’s our few ideas, take a look at the internet for recipes. To buy your ingredients, I recommend Marketplace by Citymart.
- Dry-Brined Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Turkey
- Glazed Sweet Potatoes
- Tangy Cranberry Meatballs
- Mini Hasselback Potatoes with Chive Butter
- Red Pepper Jelly and Orange Glazed Ham
- Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes with Bacon Crumbs
- Roasted Tomato and Garlic Tart
- Chicken Drumsticks and Vegetables in Mustard-Tarragon Sauce
Make A Selection Of Christmas Movies
Whether outgoing Christmas party animal, or cosy Christmas hibernator, one vital thing that everyone will revert to at some point over the festive season is a list of romantic Christmas movies to see at your place while putting a blanket, with cozy vibes and a glass of hot ginger ale or hot chocolate. Here’s my suggestions from 90s’ to today’s all time favourites. And if you love going to the theater, Last Christmas starring Emila Clarke and Henry Golding is showing on Yangon’s big screens.
- Home Alone (1990)
- Love Actually (2003)
- The Holiday (2006)
- Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
- Holiday Inn (1942)
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
- White Christmas (1954)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
- Klaus (2019)
- The Santa Clause (1994)
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Go to The Christmas Market
Christmas markets (or Christkindlmarkt as they are known in festive Germany), are not typically found in Yangon…. Until now! BKK Night Market Group hosts it’s monthly special Christmas Market from 19 to 30 December at the Junction Square promotion area. It promises to feature many vendors with a variety of fusion food and snacks, accessories, clothing, entertainment, a playground for kids, and, of course, a giant Christmas tree! On 23, 24 & 25 December, Yangon City Christmas Festival will be set from Holy Trinity Anglican Church (in front of Junction City) to Bogyoke Road, Bo Aung Kyaw and Thein Phyu Roads from 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm with entertainment, music, feasts from charitable associations to all comers including 6 stages in total all the way. Concurrently, the festival will also be held at Thakinmya Park, Ahlone township and Insein Park, Insein township. And Karen New Year Day falls on 26 December and its festival will be taking place in the Pansodan Street from 24 to 29 December. Karen don dance, Myanmar dance, magic show, and performance of Myanmar’s Got Talent contestants will be showcased from the evening until late. The shops may operate around the clock during the festival. Don’t miss your chance to observe the Karen culture in Yangon!
Junction Square – Kyun Taw Road, Kamayut Tsp, Yangon
Go Ice Skating
Although Christmas in Yangon is typically a hot and humid affair, you can still choose to feel the chill and go ice skating. Royal Sportainment Complex, an indoor stadium consisting of ice-skating rink and bowling alley, has provided a new recreation space for Yangonites since it’s recent opening in May 2019. The very first Ice Skating stadium in Myanmar includes cafes and restaurants for your refreshment options. It is open for skaters of all levels – from first-timers to the more advanced – but fees are fixed for all ages. Children under eight years old must be accompanied by a parent. One session lasts 90 minutes and costs 15,000 Kyats per pax.
Royal Sportainment Complex – Taw Win Road, 9 Mile, Yangon
Tel: 09 677 788893
Wear Ugly Sweaters
While no one may want to take the credit for ugly clothes, this tacky kind of holiday cheer has become a widespread festive tradition across the world. So, friends and couples, why don’t we celebrate it in Myanmar? The National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is celebrated annually on the third Friday of December each year – this year falling on Friday the 20th. Rock your sweater with pride, all day and all night, from the time you wake up till the time you sleep. No breaks. No cop outs. No excuses. The sweater must stay on.
Go Out For A Festive Walk
After battling the Christmas feast, you may feel like taking a walk to explore Yangon’s Christmas lights and decorations – most of the major landmarks and churches have now begun putting up installations for the festive season. Giant Christmas tree or glittering lights, here’s a roundup of where to see those in Yangon.
- Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon (Outside)
- Junction City
- Sule Square Mall
- Mahabandula Park
- People’s Park
- St. Mary’s Cathedral, Yangon
- Myanmar Plaza Shopping Mall
- Junction Square Promotion Area
- Novotel Yangon Max
Throw A Party
If you’re out of ideas, why not throw a cosy Christmas Eve Party at your place! In Yangon, you never know what’s going to happen with these house parties! Grab some packs of beer, sausages, snacks and keep the neighbours awake with your cheesy music playlist. Decorate with Christmas lights, play board games, beer pong, Truth or Dare – or just sing Carols and keep it traditional! Whatever your Christmas vibe, simply gather your friends, family, and colleagues on this special occasion that promotes goodwill to all.