Expat Parent December 2020

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the really useful magazine hongkongliving.com

December 2020

HKIS students share the joy this festive season

How to have your best ever Hong Kong Christmas

With love at Christmas

Santa sightings & much more l a u t r i v , s t f i g Gloriously local


CONTENTS — 1 2/ 2 0


Cover Story Spotlight on HKIS community program Hello from the hot desk







Meet Claire Yates, founder of The Lion Rock Press


Events to look forward to this festive season


Your monthly local news roundup

Family-friendly festive staycations

The virus that almost stole Christmas

Our guide to staying put (and loving it) this Christmas

Meet this month’s team


Slurp mulled wine at these festive afternoon teas



Our pick of festive gifts this season



25 30



“Santa Claus has the right idea—visit people only once a year” - Victor Borge


editor’s Letter Christmas is upon us, but, as with everything else 2020 has thrown our way, this one is different. Instead of preparing to jet off to visit family in far flung corners of the globe, we’re getting used to the idea that catch ups with extended family will, this year, be virtual. But that’s okay, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is to appreciate what we have right in front of us. Turn to page 12 for our guide on how to have your best ever Hong Kong Christmas, from festive markets to virtual Santas and all in between. On page 11, we chat with Claire Yates of Hong Kong-inspired stationery brand The Lion Rock Press on an interesting year for the business which has seen jigsaw puzzle sales soar. And I headed to HKIS last month to learn more about the school’s impressive Service on Saturday programme which sees students spend their free time serving the community, on page 16. As I arrived at the school gates I was greeted with the sound of

who’s in charge? Editorial editorial@hongkongliving.com Editor-in-chief Nicole Slater

Editor Gemma Shaw

Digital Editor Apple Lee

Senior Staff Writer Charmaine Ng

Design vicky@hongkongliving.com Graphic Designer Vicky Lam

Graphic Designer Yankee Tsang

Sales & Marketing talk@hongkongliving.com Director of Content Hilda Chan

excited chatter about the upcoming holiday season and I was immediately filled with festive cheer and excitement in anticipation of what is set to be our best Hong Kong Christmas. Happy holidays one and all, can’t wait to see you in 2021.

Circulation Manager Pranali Gupta

Head of Digital Content Isamonia Chui

Partnership Manager Elaine Li

Publisher Matt Eaton matt@hongkongliving.com

Editor’s picks

Founding Director Tom Hilditch tom@hongkongliving.com

Contact us Admin: 3568 3722 | Editorial: 2776 2773 | Advertising: 2776 2772 Published by Hong Kong Living Ltd, L1 Kai Wong Commercial Building, 222 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

I wholeheartedly recommend a luxury staycation to get you in the festive mood. A couple of weeks ago we chose The St. Regis Hong Kong for baby Sophia’s first hotel stay. The experience was flawless, from the in-room dining options, to the hotel providing every baby product we could need. We loved it, so much so, we’re going back in a couple of weeks. stregishongkong.com


Disneyland Hong Kong

With Disneyland Hong Kong recently unveiling its new Castle of Magical Dreams in celebration of its 15th anniversary, there is no better time to visit. The reimagined castle was inspired by the stories of 13 Disney princesses and queens celebrating determination to pursue their dreams. Hong Kong Disneyland is inviting residents to enjoy two visits for just $688. hongkongdisneyland.com

HONG KONG hongkongliving.com Expat Parent is published by Hong Kong Living Ltd. This magazine is published on the understanding that the publishers, advertisers, contributors and their employees are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors and omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication. The publisher, advertisers, contributors and their employees expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a reader of this publication or not, in respect of any action or omission by this publication. Expat Parent cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies provided by advertisers or contributors. The views herein are not necessarily shared by the staff or publishers. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Photo: Karin Bremer

The St. Regis Hong Kong

Printer Apex Print Limited, 11-13 Dai Kwai Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, Hong Kong


contributors Thank you to our contributors

Ziggy Makant Ziggy is mum of two, a certified pre and postnatal coach, co-host of the Mom Body Soul podcast, and she’s managed to build an impressive Instagram following. Ziggy shares sustainable gifting ideas for the holidays on page 7. @zig.fitmama

Aude Camus Born and raised in Paris, Aude Camus is stylish mama to baby Noa and managing editor of city guide, Hong Kong Madame. This month, she shares insider knowledge on where to get festive with baby in tow on page 7. @hongkongmadame

Karin Bremer Leanne Hong Joining the Hong Kong Living team this month, Leanne is a final year student from The University of Hong Kong majoring in English Studies and Art History. She rounds up the best festive teas across town in our dining section.

Dutch-Australian photographer Karin shot our festive cover at HKIS Middle and High School campus in Tai Tam. Karin lives in Southside and runs photography company Karin Bremer Photography, offering a range of photography services including family portraits, events and commercial production services. karinbremer.com

Becky Love Discovery Bay-based Becky is our contributing editor and mum to one-year-old Lewis. This month she checks off a fantastic list of ways to keep Christmas spirit alive on page 36.

Want to write for Expat Parent? Contact editorial@hongkongliving.com 4 | EXPAT PARENT


what’s on Credit: Conrad Dy-Liacco, courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

11pm. $580. Treasure Island Beach Club, Pui O Beach. treasureislandhk.com

DEC 17–27

The Nutcracker Christmas is never complete without The Nutcracker. Acclaimed choreographer Terence Kohler created this unforgettable production especially for Hong Kong Ballet. Ages three and above. From $180. Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. hkballet.com


Christmas Market at LANDMARK

DEC 4-5

Christmas Toy Sale Little Philanthropists will host its second largest toy sale with over 3,000 toys donated so far. Enjoy mulled wine, snacks and a lucky draw. Free. 60 Po Tung Road, Sai Kung. littlephilanthropist.net

DEC 19-20

Baby Shark Live Expect plenty of singing and dancing as the sharks take part in Reefville’s first annual treasure hunt. Multiple showtimes. From $280. Star Hall, 3/F, KITEC. pinkfong.com

Sit back and enjoy the turkey, Christmas is finally here.

DEC 26

Boxing Day


Public holiday. Play with your new presents.

Discovery Bay Holiday Market

DEC 26

A delightful festive market hosted by Handmade Hong Kong. Check the website for the latest information. 11am-6pm. Free. Discovery Bay Plaza, Lantau. handmadehongkong.com

Burn off Christmas calories on this race across Lamma, Lantau and Hong Kong Island. 7am6.30pm. From $400. Central Ferry Pier 4. tgr.run

Three Islands Green Race

DEC 12-13

Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway Hong Kong Living partners with The Pulse for a weekend of festive fun. Shop at the pop-up market, take part in workshops and enjoy rooftop festive cocktails. 12-6pm. Free. The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay. hongkongliving.com/shop

DEC 12


Eat, drink and be merry at our annual Christmas charity lunch, Three courses and free-flow included. A charity raffle will support Feeding Hong Kong and Box of Hope. 12-3pm. $450. Ruam, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai. hongkongliving.com/shop

Christmas Day


Shop for last minute gifts while supporting local businesses at this festive market. 128pm. Free. 33-35 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan. thehivesheungwan.com.hk

Hong Kong Living Christmas Lunch

DEC 25

This European-inspired Christmas market plays host to popular brands including Indigo Living, The Mandarin Oriental and Cookie DPT. Mulled wine served daily. 11am-8pm. Free. 3/F, Landmark Atrium. landmark.hk

The Hive Sheung Wan Christmas Market

DEC 16

Christmas Charity Beach Ball

DEC 31

Support local Lantau wildlife and animal welfare charities whilst enjoying a Christmas roast dinner buffet, live music and dancing. 6pm-

It’s that moment we’ve all been waiting for: Goodbye 2020.

New Year’s Eve

book now BOOK NOW JAN 10

Stride For A Cure Take a 5km or 10km hike around Tai Tam Country Park to raise money for Hong Kong Cancer Fund. 9am-2pm. Hong Kong International School, 1 Red Hill Road, Tai Tam. cancer-fund.org

JAN 19-31

Hong Kong Race Week Look out for competitors navigating four race courses in the areas of Middle Island, Repulse Bay, Deep Water Bay, Stanley, Tai Tam and Beaufort during this two week regatta. 9am6.30pm. hongkongraceweek.com

JAN 23 HK50

Rescheduled from October 2020. Choose from a 24km or 50km trail run starting at Peak Galleria. 7am. actionasiaevents.com

Got an event? We can publish the details. Email editorial@hongkongliving.com

Mum about town Out & about with Aude Camus It will be Noa’s first Christmas and since we can’t spend it back in Europe with our families, I intend to make it extra merry and bright - even though she won’t remember it. My plans include taking her to The Langham’s tree lighting ceremony on December 2 to marvel at the oversize candy canes and carollers. We’ll snap cute Christmassy pictures at the Pacific Place augmented-reality little elves’ training camp and shop for Christmas ornaments and festive treats at the European Christmas market at LANDMARK (and I’ll treat myself to a glass – or two – of mulled wine). From December 17-24, we’ll enjoy the comforting scent of roasted chestnut at Mandarin Oriental and we’ll also stop by The Peninsula to read Noa her first Christmas tale, The Red Robin’s Enchanting Journey, a free and beautifully illustrated ebook available to download at peninsula.com. @hongkongmadame

Sustainable gifting with Ziggy Makant After the whirlwind of 2020, we’re taking the opportunity to slow down and reflect on our priorities as a family this Christmas. I make a conscious effort to live a zero-waste lifestyle. This year, instead of wrapping paper, I’m stocking up on handmade, reusable cloth sacks from Where the Honey Runs (@wherethehoneyruns). My tree decor will feature handmade cross stitch decorations - Alice at Stitch Sister Co makes personalised cross stitch kits for novices like me (@stitchsister.co) and we’ll be reading Christmas-themed stories from Lili et le Prince. This adorable online bookstore stocks French and English classics categorised by age and price (@lilietleprince). @zig.fitmama



RARE SkinFuel opens at Landmark

Shrewsbury’s half-day programme Primary specialist Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong is offering a half-day programme for students entering nursery school from January 2021 onwards. Offering mixed class groups of up to 19 students, the new programme

will give participating students the chance to enjoy weekly aquatics lessons alongside specialist-led music and Chinese language classes. For more information about the programme or to enrol your child, visit shrewsbury.edu.hk

You’ve got Christmas mail It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Make sure to get your Christmas shopping done in time and more importantly, posted in time. The Hong Kong Post has released information on the latest dates of posting for this year’s Christmas airmail. While the dates are provisional, they are worked out

based on the requirements of overseas postal administration and are subject to availability of flight services. Gifts to the US should’ve been posted before November 19; and gifts to the UK should be posted before December 2. For the full list, visit hongkongpost.hk

Fixed pricing at Matilda For couples planning for a baby during Covid times, Matilda International Hospital has specially introduced antenatal care services inclusive of basic ultrasound scans, routine tests and doctor’s fee at predetermined fixed charges. Matilda is the first private hospital in Hong Kong to launch a fixed pricing scheme in antenatal care, offering expectant parents price transparency. It also gives pregnant women the flexibility to attend any of its private


antenatal care sessions, according to the gestation of pregnancy. “At this challenging time, couples plan everything cautiously including antenatal care, we aim to offer them personalised care right from the start of pregnancy with competitive prices,” said Debbie Tong, Head of Patient Service Centre of the Matilda International Hospital. Find out more about Matilda’s antenatal care services at matilda.org

Homegrown skincare brand RARE SkinFuel (RSF) has launched its first concept store in LANDMARK. To commemorate the opening, a cocktail party was held on November 11, with founder (and cover star of November’s Expat Parent) Michelle Chen arranging a dancing performance by Brazilian dancers. The new concept store will provide personal skincare shopping experiences with tips and tricks of using RSF’s signature products for your daily skincare routine and include treatment rooms in the store to provide facial services using RSF professional-line products. Visit the new store to experience RSF’s Australian-made products for yourself. rareskinfuel.com


Back to the future Known for major entertainment and wellness events, the Hong Kong Observation Wheel and AIA Vitality Park have upped their game. Together, they have launched the Hong Kong Observation Wheel AR App, elevating the visitor experience through never-before-seen Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The new

programme aims to provide visual immersions of Hong Kong in the 1890s and 1960s and encourage visitors to unlock the beauty of the harbour and learn about the city’s development. The free mobile application is now available on IOS and Android in English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. aiavitality.com.hk

The Steelcase Dragon Run 2020 Hong Kong’s international paddling event and part of the World Surfski League took place over 21km of water between Clearwater Bay and Stanley on November 14. Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious and competitive races, the event was competed by only Hong Kong paddlers this year, due to travel restrictions. “We have just seen one of the most exhilarating races in The Steelcase Dragon Run’s history. We applaud the extraordinary performances of Hong Kong’s magnificent paddlers and congratulate all the winners,” said race director Bruce Seymour. As for the winners, Winnie Wong Hock Wing (women’s division) and Andrew Watts (men’s division) took the crown in the Long Course (21km) Surfski race, whilst Jess King (women’s division) and Jack Seymour (men’s division) won the OC1 category. For the full list of results, visit hongkongdragonrun.com.hk


me & my big idea


me & my big idea

A memorable Christmas The Lion Rock Press founder Claire Yates talks to Charmaine Ng about its quirky collection to commemorate 2020 The expat community in Hong Kong is no stranger to homegrown brand The Lion Rock Press. Founded in 2013 by Claire Yates, the family business and e-commerce platform is loved for its unique Hong Kong-themed offerings, ranging from candles and puzzles to greeting cards and wooden toys. Since its opening seven years ago, it has grown at an incredible pace through word-of-mouth and has become a go-to for those seeking personal gifts for their loved ones. Ahead of Christmas, we sit down with Yates, who has prepared a quirky festive collection to mark the end of a tumultuous year. For Hongkongers who share Yates’ love for the city, gifts from The Lion Rock Press are ideal. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, wedding, new baby or waving goodbye to the SAR, the brand has products for every occasion. As with many small businesses, 2020 hasn’t been easy for Yates and her team. As a leader, she has had to make quick decisions throughout the past year, managing customers’ requirements and attitudes that were constantly shifting because of changing circumstances. “Products that may have been just ‘good’ skyrocketed to hero status because of lockdowns,” she says. “Children’s games and adult jigsaw puzzles, in particular, saw a meteoric rise in popularity, which we have to assume is because customers were looking for ‘boredom busters’.” She tells us that the 1000-piece puzzles, for example, have been extremely popular with people undergoing quarantine – so much that The Lion Rock Press sends several every week to various hotels where people are stationed. Christmas is one of the busiest times for the brand. And specially for this year, The Lion Rock Press has come up with commemorative tree decorations – a masked lion dance, a masked lucky cat, a masked snowman and even a sanitiser bottle – that are bold and slightly controversial. “The tree decorations are all handpainted one by one, so the lead times are very long. I had to make a decision back in March that I was going to go ahead with

them and really back myself. A lot of people warned me that I would face a backlash because the pandemic was still very new and very scary for people,” says Yates. “I felt very strongly that people would be able to take them in the spirit in which they were intended – that is, a spirit of commemorating a year like no other and celebrating the resilience of Hong Kong people in the face of such life-altering challenges.” It seems that Yates was correct in following her instincts, because as Christmas approaches, the ‘virus collection’ decorations have amassed great popularity – not just with Hongkongers, but for people everywhere in the world. “Part of the success of the collection is due to the fact that this suffering is truly global and we are all experiencing a lifechanging event at the same time. Just this morning, a customer came to collect his order and told us that some were going to Mexico and some to Sweden. It gives us a tremendous sense of joy knowing that people will be looking at our products and

hopefully feeling the love that got them there, as well as the connection we all have as we face this pandemic together.” After finishing off the year with an amazing collection, Yates is looking forward to better times in 2021. The Lion Rock Press will be moving to its own dedicated space at the end of December, after six years based out of a co-working space. “We hope that the many new customers we have gained over the last few months will return to us again in the near future so we can continue to serve them in 2021. There are many new products that we are excited to bring to market and several collaborations that we know our customers are going to love. I hope that the new year brings a fresh perspective and we all find a way to make peace with the new normal.” The Lion Rock Press is a family business that specialises in Hong Kong-inspired stationery and gifts. thelionrockpress.com



The A-Z of Christmas in Hong Kong Our ultimate guide to staying put (and loving it) this Christmas. By Gemma Shaw


A Hong Kong Living Christmas

beauty products or alcohol. We have our eye on Penhaligon’s A Fragrant Holiday Countdown calendar, exclusive to K11 MUSEA ($4,425). penhaligons.com

Enjoy pop-up markets, festive workshops and cocktails at our Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway at The Pulse from December 12-13. Then join our Christmas charity lunch in support of Feeding Hong Kong and Box of Hope on December 16 at Ruam ($450). hongkongliving.com/shop


Boxing Day Hikes From the Terrible Twins to Lion Rock, Hongkongers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a Boxing Day hike. The Sai Kung & Clearwater Bay Hiking Guide ($210) makes a great stocking filler. hongkongliving.com/shop

Calendars Advent calendars are no longer just for kids, treat yourself to a luxurious calendar filled with chocolate,




DB Ice Rink Since it’s unlikely to snow in Hong Kong this winter, chill out at DB Ice Rink which is due to open soon and set to be the largest rink in Hong Kong. Follow their Facebook for the latest. dbicerink.com

Elf on the shelf A genius concept in which an elf is sent to your home to encourage children to behave. The elf frequently reports back to Santa in the North Pole. Order The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition from Amazon, Etsy or Book Depository. elfontheshelf.com

Fortnum & Mason The 313-year-old British retailer produces the crème de la crème



when it comes to Christmas goodies, in particular their cognac-infused mincemeat Christmas Traditional Mince Pies are renowned as some of the best in the world. fortnumandmason.com

at K11 MUSEA’s Donut Playhouse. k11musea.com


Gift guide See our guide to the best gifts in Hong Kong on page 25.

Hong Kong Disneyland The park is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary. Marvel at the reimagined Castle of Magical Dreams, join the Christmastime Ball and gather around for the tree lighting ceremony. Residents can currently enjoy two visits for $688. hongkongdisneyland.com



LANDMARK This year, the ground floor of LANDMARK ATRIUM transforms into a magical ‘Spirit of Giving’ Christmas Market with cosy corners crammed with stockings and old fashioned street-lamps adorned with wreaths, as well as a giant snowman. landmark.hk

While the much-anticipated Stanley Plaza Christmas Market has been cancelled, many others are scheduled to go ahead including The Christmas Market at Landmark throughout December, Discovery Bay Christmas Market on December 6 and the Hong Kong Living Christmas Getaway from December 12-13. Visit hongkongliving.com.

The Nutcracker From December 17-27, Hong Kong Ballet will perform acclaimed choreographer Terence Kohler’s beloved production of this Christmas classic at Hong Kong Cultural Centre. From $180. hkballet.com

Hongkong Post has announced the last dates for the posting of Christmas mail. Local deliveries must be posted by December 22. Gifts to the US should’ve been posted before November 19; and gifts to the UK should be posted before December 2. For the full list, visit hongkongpost.hk


January brings the snow...


K11 MUSEA Christmas Carnival

But not (often). The Hong Kong Observatory last reported snowfall in Hong Kong was in Tai Mo Shan on December 14, 1975. So if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you’ll likely need to wait until borders reopen.

From now until January 3, kids aged three to 12 years old can experience space travel with Santa Meow from the Universe Kids’ Christmas carnival


The Lion Rock Press To mark this most challenging of years, The Lion Rock Press has released a special set of Hong Kong-themed seasonal decorations. Featuring a safely masked lucky cat, lion dance and snowman figurines, along with 2020’s most wanted accessory – a bottle of hand sanitiser. thelionrockpress.com


Photo: Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet


International post dates

30 minutes. Luxury interiors brand Indigo Living has recently partnered with foodpanda so you can order home décor, gifts and decorations directly to your door via the foodpanda app. indigo-living.com

Ornaments Indigo Living Forgotten a bauble or a festive napkin? You can now have it delivered to your door in under

TREE From handcrafted Christmas decorations to warm festive throws, this popular eco-friendly furniture store has everything you need to turn your home into a cosy winter wonderland. tree.com.hk


The Peninsula


Queues, what queues?


In keeping with tradition, The Peninsula will illuminate a splendidly decorated Christmas tree in its lobby throughout December. This year’s tree is inspired by the tale of The Robin’s Journey which ignites the spirit of kindness and sharing around the world. Download the story at peninsula.com/festive

Instead of being stuck in a queue at airport check-in, this Christmas eve you can be at home with your feet up, enjoying a glass of mulled wine.

Rosewood Feel like splashing the cash? Order Rosewood’s Grand Deluxe Christmas Tree package to have the finest Christmas tree delivered to your home along with perfectly paired luxurious decorations. A gourmet festive hamper and Christmas turkey will arrive at a later date. From $17,800. rosewoodhkshop.com

Staycations Staycays are the vacays of 2020, check out our guide of the best festive hotel offers on page 30.


Lifestyle be there with you, every step of the way. Stay connected at editorial@ hongkongliving.com

T - Trees


Still searching for the perfect tree? Here are some trusted stockists:

Xmas cocktails From a cinnamon and star aniseinfused Deck the Halls cocktail at Aqua Spirit to a Christmas Pina at Zuma, check out our guide to the best Christmas cocktails at hongkongliving.com

Van der Bloom Van der Bloom delivers hand decorated Noble Firs and wreaths direct to your door such as the Crimson Christollen which is decorated with Christmas baubles, cinnamons, metallic touches and wooden ornaments. From $1,242. vanderbloom.com.hk Oncor Recycled Trees Oncor is one of the world’s oldest Christmas tree manufacturers with trees made from 100% recycled plastic. Trees come with a guarantee of lasting for a minimum of 30 Christmases. From $290. oncortrees.hk Anglo Chinese Florist During the holiday season this popular florist on Lyndhurst Street in Central stocks Noble and Douglas Firs in a variety of sizes with prices from $1,028. anglochinese.com Sophie’s Christmas Trees With over 20 years of experience retailing Christmas trees, the staff at Sophie’s in Ma On Shan source the finest Noble, Fraser, and Douglas Firs from Portland, USA. sophieshk.com Mong Kok Flower Market Mong Kok Flower Market exudes festive spirit at this time of year. The surrounding streets are awash with a huge range of reasonably priced trees, wreaths, poinsettias and fauna.


Under the stars Fancy Christmas morning on the beach? See our guide to Hong Kong’s best camping spots for an alternative festive getaway. hongkongliving.com

readers have kept us going. We would like to say a big thank you and make a promise that whatever 2021 serves up, Expat Parent will





It’s been an exhausting year. Instead of travelling across multiple time zones this year, appreciate that this Christmas you can take the time to truly relax in your own home.

With travel bans across the globe, most families are choosing to stay put. But that doesn’t mean you can’t connect over a zoom Christmas lunch. Or perhaps enjoy a champagne toast, Christmas crackers or afterdinner party games together.

Virtual Santa To practice safe social distancing, this year Pacific Place will introduce Hong Kong’s first-ever augmentedreality meet and greet with Santa. The atrium has also been transformed into a winter elf town featuring a Little Elves’ Training Camp, Christmas fair games and workshops. christmas.pacificplace.com.hk

We wish you a merry Christmas … From all of us at Expat Parent. It’s been a tough year, but our


Boxing Day hike at Dragon’s Back



cover story

HKIS students shine on Saturdays Hong Kong International School ‘Service on Saturday’ program benefits the community, writes Nicole Slater. Photography by Karin Bremer 16 | EXPAT PARENT

cover story

Service on Saturday students share a festive moment with HKIS educators. L to R: Hiroko Kawase, Juan Lucas Umali, Mr. Edmond Li, Kezia Leung, Dr. Dave Lovelin, Yongjae Lee, Ms. Lauren Fine and Margi Lonergan (seated)

Established in 1966, Hong Kong International School (HKIS) offers Reception 1 through Grade 12 students with an American-style education firmly grounded in Christian faith. Four separate campuses, each located at picturesque locations across Southside, serve lower primary, upper primary, middle and high school students. HKIS actively seeks out students who will not only benefit from educational experiences, but who will also contribute to the wider community. This community spirit shines through

inside and out of the classroom. In the High School, the classes in the curriculum help students increase their awareness of, empathy for and action in the community. Outside of the classroom, one main way many students are able to serve is through the Service on Saturday program. “Each year over 200 students dedicate most Saturdays throughout the school year to serving alongside local Hong Kong charities and organisations in order to make a difference,” says High School Principal Dr Dave Lovelin. Lovelin believes

that this engagement benefits the students and community alike. “HKIS high school students learn to engage with other students and adults while learning and experiencing the world around them.”

Service on Saturday Edmond Li is the humanities teacher who facilitates the Service on Saturday program, started in 1996 by Zella Talbot and Marty Schmidt, two teachers who are still at HKIS today. Li believes by emphasising the inherent dignity and value of all people, students seek


cover story


cover story

A Saturday morning in 2019 at the Heng Fa Chuen Lutheran Day Nursery

to build meaningful and authentic relationships that promote an understanding of community needs. “Students are encouraged to use their unique gifts and passions to positively impact their community,” says Li. The autonomy and confidence this program gives students is notable. For example, in recent months the global pandemic has prevented many NGOs from connecting with their communities, which has resulted in people feeling more stressed and isolated than ever before. HKIS students acted on this and sought out opportunities to support their NGO partners. Creating mini-videos that focused on educational (reading and writing) and well-being (healthy eating and arts) needs of young children as well as connecting with elderly through music and exercise videos, the students were able to strengthen their connection with the local community. “These deeper connections also provided opportunities to reflect and prepare for work that we hope to do in the future,” says Li.

Edmond Li

Kezia Leung and Hiroko Kawase

Student-led initiative Hiroko Kawase and Kezia Leung are two students with leadership positions within the SOS program, Kawase as a club leader and Leung as Senator of Service for the student council. Both girls have spent much of their free time working with those in need and both have been inspired to consider careers that will allow them to continue to serve. Growing up in Japan, Hiroko Kawase was not aware of the importance of service education, as it is often not highlighted in the Japanese curriculum. But after moving to Hong Kong in 2013, she found her true passion. “Ever since attending a Model United Nations conference in 2015, I was compelled to combine my love of building a community and education to solve such global justice issues. The service culture at HKIS has helped me to empathise with global issues by connecting with the local community,” says Kawase. Similarly, Leung was encouraged to help those in need from a young age. She faced many immigration challenges herself, moving from Hong Kong to America and back again. “After volunteering with my family and teaching at my church Sunday school, I was keen to connect and care for people in my community. HKIS has helped me to develop a voice to advocate for others and a global perspective from which to view society,” says Leung.

Students at HKIS are undoubtedly passionate about giving back, and with a team of 200 plus the impact the school has on some of Hong Kong’s most deprived communities is invaluable.

Giving back this Christmas This year, HKIS will collaborate with four NGO partners to create gift boxes for refugee and asylum seeker families (Branches of Hope), teenage parents and their families (YoungLives), marginalised local students (Chicken Soup Foundation) and a senior community (Mighty Oaks). Students will also have the opportunity to join some of these communities for their Christmas festivities with school musicians performing for residents at an elderly home and student teachers celebrating with the kids they serve. The school is careful to highlight that giving is ‘not just for Christmas’ and student and teacherled programs run throughout the year working closely with NGOs to provide assistance and aid wherever possible.

To learn more about the school and our curricular service learning program, visit hkis.edu.hk




Eat, drink and be merry Hong Kong’s finest festive teas. By Leanne Hong The Ritz-Carlton The Ritz-Carlton is offering an enchanting Steiff Teddy Bear Festive Afternoon Tea Set in collaboration with German plush toy manufacturer Steiff. German-born executive chef Peter Find has incorporated premium chocolate brand Valrhona into a selection of traditional German delights including the Pfeffernuesse and the Black Forest Verrine for an authentic flavour. The festive afternoon tea is displayed in a cute teddy bear-shaped stand for Instagrammable moments, a Steiff teddy bear keyring will be gifted to guests to take home on a first-come first-served basis. $458 for one and $788 for two. ritzcarlton.com

The Lounge at Four Seasons

Four Seasons Hong Kong Festive afternoon tea at Four Seasons The Lounge includes a seasonal array of delicate savouries and sweets, served alongside an impressive selection of fine teas. Executive pastry chef Ringo Chan serves up his signature scones and a variety of desserts with festive twist. Highlights include mini gingerbread men, Mandarin yule log cake and mulled berry snowman macarons. $488 per person. fourseasons.com

collection. A custom-made wooden treasure box will be unlocked at the table to reveal an array of delightfully refreshing bites. An oolong tea-based mocktail served in an elegant Atelier Cologne tea bottle will accompany your tea set when you share your experience on social media. $688 for two. shangri-la.com

The Cakery

The St. Regis Hong Kong St. Regis serves up classic afternoon tea with an iconic Hong Kong twist. Guests can customise their choice of up to eight savoury and sweet dishes from a dim sum-inspired trolley. Executive chef Vincent Leroux and executive pastry chef Chad Yamagata have introduced festive additions for the season including golden foie gras on gingerbread, a strawberry yule log and dried fruit cake. Festive afternoon tea is served in The Drawing Room every day between 2.30pm and 5.30pm until 3 January 2021. $748 for two. Add a glass of The Caroline 400 champagne for $138 per person. stregishongkong.com

Kerry Hotel Fragrance fans, this one’s for you. Kerry Hotel has partnered with Atelier Cologne to introduce its new ‘Love in a Winter Garden’ afternoon tea inspired by the parfumerie’s latest Joie de Vivre

W Hong Kong W Hong Kong is collaborating with makeup brand M.A.C. this season to present the Glittery Flare Afternoon Tea Set. Inspired by the brand’s Frosted Firework Holiday Collection, executive chef Rafa Gil and executive pastry chef Baptiste Villefranque have curated a menu of savoury and sweet treats which can be accompanied by special Woobar cocktails (at additional cost). And the best part, guests will receive an array of perks including make-up services, hero product samples and gift-wrapping for holiday kits from M.A.C. From $498 for two. marriott.com

The Cakery offers a seasonal plant-based afternoon tea served in a fairy-lit box designed to resemble an advent calendar for dine-in guests and a bow-wrapped picnic basket for takeaway. Savoury bites include vegan chickpea sandwiches with homemade mayo and Impossible meatballs with bell pepper puree. Sweet treats include a Santa-shaped chocolate made with vegan cocoa and an apple crumble cake. $598 for two. thecakery.com

Hotel Icon Hotel Icon is collaborating with Godiva to present a limited-edition Christmas afternoon tea. The festive set includes a selection of sweet and savoury delights beginning with a chocolate teddy bear which can be dipped into a cup of hot milk to create a warm and comforting hot chocolate. More chocolate delights include Godiva soft serve ice cream and foie gras chocolate parfait. $368 for one and $658 for two. hotel-icon.com




Bite-size interview with Chef Tom Hui from La Casa Burger & Pasta

Tucked in a cosy corner on Bonham Strand, La Casa Burger & Pasta offer a variety of gourmet burgers for takeaway and delivery. The grab-and-go burger joint takes inspiration from a range of international cuisines to create decadent new-style burgers such as a succulent fish and

guacamole burger and a roast pork belly burger stuffed with sliced apples, fontina cheese and honey mustard. Founded by passionate chef Tom Hui, La Casa Burger & Pasta started out in 2012 as a private kitchen which specialised premium Italian cuisine for private clients. As time passed, Hui, who grew up in a family of chefs, wanted more people to taste his food. In 2016, he relocated his restaurant to a more accessible spot in Sheung Wan and rebranded the space into a casual Italian eatery. “After moving to Sheung Wan, we were originally an Italian restaurant with a focus on fine dining. Due to the limited size of our shop, we later decided that a takeaway-style concept would be more suitable and so we reinvented

ourselves once again this year,” says Hui. The transformation happened at just the right time. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, putting countless dining establishments out of business, La Casa has built an excellent reputation as a takeout restaurant. Since reopening as a burger shop, La Casa has found its footing through offering specialty creations with the likes of teriyaki pork burger and portobello mushroom burger, earning itself a well-deserved spot as one of Hong Kong’s top burger joints. With the festive season approaching, we ask Chef Hui how he intends to celebrate Christmas. “We will be busy at work, we start to prepare food very early on Christmas morning and work until midnight. Afterwards we usually have a team hot pot for our Christmas dinner. Hot pot may not be a popular choice at Christmas, but it’s always good after a long day,” says Hui. This Christmas, the bistro is set to launch a limited edition Christmas burger which includes chicken breast and cranberry sauce. “This burger is full of Christmas spirit, with traditional Christmas dinner elements,” says Hui. The burger will be available as part of a meal set for four, making it perfect for families to share after a busy day of Christmas shopping. But no matter how busy Hui is this festive season he will always make time for his family and plans to take his children to see Christmas lights and decorations, just like he did when he was a boy. lacasaburger.com


gift guide


gift guide


Christmas GIFT GUIDE

Nicole Slater suggests locally-sourced gifts for the whole family

Naked Lab Since starting just two years ago, Naked Lab has won multiple international awards for its high quality, vegan BambooSilk bedding. Originally focusing on baby cot sheets the brand has now expanded into children and adult ranges, providing high quality luxurious bedding for the whole family. This Christmas, Naked Lab’s is offering unique personalised stockings and 20 percent off their bespoke hampers nakedlab.me

My Sweet Darling - Baby/Kid's Gift Hamper $880

The Perfect Pair - Couple Gift Hamper $1,820 Better Together - Family Gift Hamper $2,680


gift guide Fortnum & Mason


From London Piccadilly to Hong Kong, the 313-year-old British retailer produces the crème de la crème when it comes to Christmas goodies. This year, four exclusive Hong Kong hampers contain classic treats including biscuits, tea, truffles and champagne to celebrate the festive season in style. fortnumandmason.com

Marshall has a longstanding reputation for quality vibes and slick, modern design. The Acton II Voice speaker boasts a built-in Google Assistant to control music without you having to lift a finger. Every song on the planet is accessible at the sound of your voice and this device has far-field voice recognition, so that even when the tunes are blaring, Google Assistant will hear you. Available from Lane Crawford and K11 Design Store. lanecrawford.com.hk, k11designstore.com

The Fortnum’s Christmas Collection $2,288

The Merry Christmas Gift Box $1,630

Marshall Acton II Voice $2,999



Catering to the modern-day spiritualists, OMSA offering is offering a unique toolkit for holistic self-care and spiritual awakening this festive season. With hand-poured soy candles, crystal kits and bath salts, you can personalise the ultimate self-care package to help your loved ones find their zen this Christmas. omsa.world

Celebrate all things Hong Kong with 852prints eco-friendly T-shirts, greeting cards, accessories and more. The Christmas card collection features cheeky takes on the festive season in Hong Kong that are guaranteed to make your loved ones chuckle. Each greeting card is printed locally on recycled paper with soy-based inks, so you can shop guilt-free and local this holiday. 852prints.com

The Ultimate Self Care Gift Set $765

Red sail hat $269

The Soul Healing Gift Set $730

Rudolph's struggle $39


Jingle all the way $39

gift guide Cubed Give your loved ones the gift of relaxation this Christmas with the Cubed’s CBD Drops, lotion and body butter. Using one of the most advanced extraction methods, Cubed CBD Drops are infused with 99 percent purity CBD isolate, the most powerful CBD product currently available in Hong Kong. The Drops help relieve stress, improve sleep and reduce anxiety, while Cubed’s CBD skincare range offers promising results that you can find on their website. The brand also offers pet CBD oil so you can treat them this festive season too. Use code hongkongliving at checkout to receive a free CBD Drops Tester. cubedcbdhk.com

Cubed CBD Drops (400mg) $380

Cubed Relief Body Butter $380

Cubed CBD DROPS (1000mg) $650

BABYZEN For the yummy mummy in your life, BABYZEN’s YOYO² stroller and YOYO bassinet is an ultra-compact and stylish way to escort your baby around town. The stroller can fold and unfold in seconds and can be worn over the shoulder. When your little one isn’t so little, mums can simply swap to the 6+ colour pack, perfect for everyday use for newborns to toddlers. babyzen.com

YOYO² $4,300

YOYO bassinet $2,300


gift guide


gift guide

Escapade sports Offering a wide variety of quality sports items, there is something for the whole family at Escapade sports. From marathon equipment to yoga gear, the fitness retailer is the perfect one-stop shop for those looking to get a kick-start on their New Year’s resolutions. With an online platform and stores across Hong Kong Island, shoppers can conveniently access gifts, even on Christmas Eve. Better yet, all items are easily exchangeable. escapade.com.hk Ultraspire Zygos 4.0 Hydration Pack $1,390

Icebreaker Merino Tech-Lite Tee $680 Manduka Yoga Mat from $399, accessories from $99

SodaMagic Add a little fizz to your festivities with SodaMagic’s sparkling water machine and save the hassle of carrying bottles from the supermarket while also reducing plastic waste. The machine allows you to customise your own sparkling creations with multiple carbonation settings to make every glass perfect. sodamagic.hk

SodaMagic 'Auto' $980



Festive retreats The best staycation deals in Hong Kong this Christmas. By Gemma Shaw

With Christmas fast approaching and travel restrictions in full force, add a little magic to the festive season with these incredible hotel deals.

The St. Regis Hong Kong In the lead up to Christmas, St. Regis Hong Kong will be adorned with dazzling festive decorations and a special Santa’s postbox, located at The Great Room which will deliver guests’ (of all ages) wishes directly to the North Pole. Book a magical festive package which includes breakfast for two at Rùn, an in-room festive afternoon tea for two, or a three-course festive menu at The Drawing Room, or order through private dining in the comfort of your


own room, and enjoy a glass of red or white wine each chosen by Chief Sommelier Tristan

Pommier. This offer starts at $2,988 throughout December, between 24-26 December and 30 December and 2 January, packages will start at $3,600. All rooms are subject to 10% service charge. stregishongkong.com

The Upper House The bespoke hotel above Pacific Place needs no introduction. Designed by award-winning architect and interior designer Andre Fu, the hotel’s modern and sophisticated style is one to marvel at. The Upper House is introducing a new ‘The House is A glow’ room package for guests to experience the hotel like never before. The staycation package includes one night stay in a spacious studio room, $500 gift

Travel card to use around the hotel, daily set breakfast and a three-course dinner for two at CafĂŠ Gray Deluxe before its closure on December 31. The package is valid until December 30 for $3,900 per night. thehousecollective.com

The Peninsula Experience a Northern Light-inspired journey at The Peninsula this Christmas. Festive-themed guest rooms, some complete with a fireplace, come alive every evening with a magical Northern Light inspired turn-down. Room rates throughout December start from $4,280 and include daily breakfast for two in The Lobby, one-way hotel limousine transfer between guest’s home and the hotel, $500 dining credit per stay and a selection of one historical journey with options including motoring, aviation and cinema. Guests staying on December 25 can expect a visit from the festive guest of honour. peninsula.com

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental With three Michelin-starred restaurants and an array of deluxe suites, the iconic Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a five-star retreat in the

The Peninsula




Travel heart of Central. For the festive season, the hotel is offering a ‘Santa Is Callin’ staycation package for guests to experience the true magic of Christmas. The package includes a limousine transfer, Landmark Mandarin Oriental bespoke Christmas welcome and turndown amenities, exclusive discounts on dining and spa indulgence and up to 50 percent off a second night’s stay. This offer is available until December 31 at $3,900. mandarinoriental.com

The Langham Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, The Langham is well-known for its Europeanstyle interiors and designer boutiques. The hotel boasts 498 guest rooms overlooking the city, a rooftop gym and heated swimming pool. From now until January 7, the hotel is offering a ‘Design The Candyland of Your Dreams’ staycation room package. The deal includes a one-night stay in the superior room, a box of Christmas candyland decorations, complimentary breakfast and minibar, along with $1,100 in-room dining credit for two for $1,288. All you need to do is show up with your Christmas spirit. langhamhotels.com

K11 ARTUS K11 Artus offers panoramic views of Victoria Harbour from its spacious and modern guest rooms. The ultra-private residences are designed to feel like home, with wrap-around balconies and plenty of room for guests to spend some quality time together. From now until December 31, guests can receive 20

percent off their booking when subscribing to the hotel’s e-newsletter. Along with a room discount, the residence also has a range of seasonal menus tailored with wine pairings, so visitors can raise a toast this festive season. artus.com.hk

Hotel Icon Capturing the essence of Hong Kong, Hotel Icon is a luxurious hotel located in Hung Hom. As one of the first environmentally friendly hotels in the city, the hotel features a vertical garden in the lobby and an electric hotel shuttle bus to transport guests. The new ‘Snapcation Package’ on offer this festive season gives guests a unique 30-minute photo opportunity inside the Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam, along with buffet breakfast at The Market and a complimentary one-hour private sound experience at KEF Music Gallery. For the foodies out there, Hotel Icon also offers a ‘Foodcation Package’, which allows guests to enjoy a variety of exclusive dining options across all of the hotel’s signature restaurants from $1,560. hotel-icon.com



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Dim sum mum

The virus that almost stole Christmas Becky Love lists the ways to keep Christmas alive this year It’s no secret this year has been unlike any other. With holidays halted, events cancelled, weddings postponed and families separated, this virus has certainly yanked the joy out of what could have been the best year yet. But, I’ve come to terms with that. I’ve adjusted to smaller social gatherings, no makeup and more hours indoors with a one-year old. It’s a new way of life, just for now, for the better of our city. But what I refuse to let happen, what I absolutely cannot allow is for COVID-19 to steal Christmas. It can’t, it shan’t, it won’t. There will be giving, there will be joy, there will be smiling faces and love all around. However, only a couple of weeks ago I was just about ready to give up on this merry holiday. “Give up on Christmas?” I hear you say. “How could you?” Well, to me, Christmas looks like this. All of the family gathered around the table together. Bustling crowds getting those last-minute gifts one-week before the big day. Christmas is about boozy gatherings with friends and celebratory work parties. But this year – there will be very little of that. My extended family will be far away in another country. Most of my gifts will be purchased from Amazon. Big boozy gatherings will most likely be limited to smaller crowds and Christmas parties may be cancelled altogether. But that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part, for me, is that my one-year old son who is just becoming aware of what is going on around him won’t get to experience the kind of Christmas that I have grown up with. Sitting on Santa’s knee or running over to his grandparents to give them a big holiday hug and kiss – this year, they’re off the list. It was upon this realisation that I decided I was up for the task. The task… of keeping Christmas alive. So, I created a Naughty and Nice list, just like Santa does, sort of. The Naughty things were what I wanted less of, and the Nice things were what I needed more of.




Don’t get caught up in the fact that it’s not going to be the same as other years. That will only bring the spirit level down. • Don’t avoid putting up decorations just because you won’t have as many visitors this year. • Don’t leave your shopping until too late – especially if you are buying online this year. • Don’t slack on making a big Christmas lunch because you won’t be getting together in a large group. Make that Christmas ham and turkey, whip up some mashed potato and finish it off with pudding and more champagne… and then enjoy those leftovers. • And most importantly, DO NOT make this Christmas out to be anything less special than the other years. For your son’s sake. See it through his eyes. No matter what, keep the magic alive.

Do all of those things that make the child in you light up. Play those carols up loud whilst putting up the Christmas tree. Cover all surfaces in tinsel. Watch every single Home Alone movie back to back – even the ones sans Macauley. Turn on your Christmas lights every night. Sit around your Netflix fireplace (it’s a thing – look it up) and drink eggnog. • Send a Christmas card, make a phone call, WhatsApp a friend. Connect in whatever way feels right and let all of your friends and loved ones know that you are thinking of them. • Get out of your pajamas and head out to see one of Hong Kong’s Christmas displays. Although you may not be allowed to sit on Santa’s knee, these displays are nothing short of magic. Your kids will love it and so will the child within you. • And lastly, but ever so importantly – don’t forget what Christmas is all about. It’s not about the best gift, the biggest tree, the Christmas feast or the brightest lights. It’s about connecting with each other in your own way, be it virtually, by snail mail, in person or by a phone call… and reminding each person of how much they mean to you. This year, it’s going to be different and I am not saying it will be easy. But if you lead with your heart and make the best of this unique situation, you could actually end up celebrating the true meaning of Christmas without the sleigh bells and reindeer whistles. And I have a feeling that may make it the most special Christmas yet.



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