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How Does South Korea Celebrate Christmas?

Tomorrow, billions of people around the world are going to celebrate the most widely celebrated holiday in the world – Christmas. And Korea is no different!

Besides some superficial similarities, such as Christmas decorations, Christmas light, and shopping, one of the biggest similarities is that Christmas is a national holiday in Korea.

If you are curious to know what South Koreans do on Christmas, then keep reading!

1. Christmas Service at Church

Most local churches will hold a service on Christmas day.

Going to church in South Korea is quickly becoming a popular trend among both Christians and even non-Christians.

Churches are usually decorated with Christmas lights and most churches do have a red cross on top of their church all year long. It goes very well with their Christmas lights and decorations.


2. Christmas Decorations

Most department stores and local shops go all out to decorate the exteriors and interiors of their buildings.


Besides stores, some people – especially Christians and Westerners who live in South Korea will decorate their homes.

It is usually the Christmas tree, wreaths for their front doors, and some even hang socks


3. Christmas Shopping While Watching Christmas Lights


Although people in Korea don't usually give presents to their family or friends, they still give presents to their significant other.

Just like any other part of the world, Christmas is a heavily commercialized holiday, hence there are a lot of Christmas sales going on.

People usually start going for Christmas shopping beginning from mid-November as the holidays discount begins around that time.

While shopping, South Koreans even take this chance to see the amazing display of lights especially in the capital city of Seoul. However, there are lights all over the city center including the bridges over the Han River.


4. Outdoor Ice Skating and Snow Sledding

During this time of the year, there are dozens of outdoor skating rinks available in South Korea. Ice skating is a popular couple-orientated activity.

The ice skating rinks get pretty busy with queues at the City Hall being several hours long.

For young children, there are also several temporary snow sledding slopes around the city. Snow sledding can be fun and intense as the slopes get pretty big in many places in Korea.

5. Visiting “Christmassy” places

Since it is a public holiday, certain places will be crowded on Christmas day. Place that has more “Christmassy” vibe tends to be packed with crowds of people who are trying to get in the Christmas spirit.

An example of such “Christmassy” places includes the Lotteworld amusement park which holds special Christmas themed events.


Myeongdong is another “Christmassy” place where people go Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day especially. Since Christmas is considered as a “western holiday”, many international parts such as Itaewon are also busy during Christmas.


6. Writing Christmas Cards

Even though Koreans don't really give gifts to their family or friends, but they do show their love by sending Christmas cards.

Christmas cards can be easily found in Korea and they are also less expensive than cards from the United States.

Most Korean Christmas cards are nature orientated – focusing on snow, trees and even any type of peaceful artwork.

Have you celebrated Christmas in South Korea before? What did you do while you were there? Share your experience with us in the comment below!

Also read on Korean Work Culture

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