[english.visitkorea.or.kr] When Christmas season comes to Korea, cities are adorned with festive lights and the air is filled with Christmas carols. Starting as early as in the beginning of November, supermarkets, department stores, shopping malls, and hotels set up their unique Christmas decorations to maximize the Christmas spirit for customers. Korea’s major theme parks also plan out Christmas festivals starting in early November and continuing until after Christmas. Theme parks provide parades that feature all sorts of characters, performances, music shows, as well as dazzling Christmas trees ornate with fascinating Christmas lights. Now, check out some of the places and performances that can make your Christmas a romantic one to remember.

Top Places with Christmas Displays

Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel

The Millennium Seoul Hilton boasts a 10-meter-high Christmas tree and an annual charity Christmas train. Located at the fountain area of the hotel's lower lobby (B1F), the Christmas train features a stunning display of trains set amid a wintery landscape of mountains and villages in the Alps. Companies participate in sponsoring by placing their logos on the miniature model trains. The Christmas train displays are designed by an actual American designer and a professional engineer. The money collected through this event goes to charity. The event runs until January 18, 2015.

Hyatt Regency Incheon

Located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Incheon, a gigantic Christmas tree spangled with colorful LED lights illuminates the surrounding area and other parts of the hotel with a festive Christmas holiday atmosphere. The hotel holds the AWOO Doll (UNICEF doll) Campaign jointly with UNICEF from November 28, 2014 to January 4, 2015. The campaign, which the hotel has already held with UNICEF for the past five years, lets people pick a doll from the exhibit on the first floor, then "adopt" it for a 30,000-won donation fee.

☞ Other hotels filled with Christmas holiday cheer

Sheraton Seoul D-Cube City Hotel, The Shilla Seoul, Grand Hyatt Seoul

Lotte Department Store (Main Branch)

This year's Christmas theme at Lotte Department Store is ‘Lovely Christmas Story,' where the traditional Christmas characters of Santa Claus and Rudolph are given a modern twist. The Christmas displays sparkle with fresh, new ideas, such as female mannequins wearing reindeer antlers while pulling a sleigh, and reindeer antlers being used to accessorize the snowflake decorations. The building's exterior is decorated with sparkling LED lights. Inside, various ornaments are used to add a more cheerful Christmas ambiance. The main Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong features brilliant lights and snowflakes in various shapes and sizes, and large heart decorations all the way to Avenue L, Loveridge, and Young Plaza. This place is surely set to become a favorite photo-taking spot for the public.

Lotte Premium Outlet Paju

Lotte Premium Outlet Paju offers an even more wonderful winter landscape and also more enjoyable outdoor events this year. Each building is adorned with a large Christmas tree and a set of decorations that blend in perfectly with the surrounding landscape. The stream flowing between the buildings as well as the nearby trees are decorated with Christmas ornaments. Various events will also be taking place here throughout the Christmas season.

Shinsegae Department Store (Main Store)

Shinsegae Department Store will be lighting up its Christmas display every day from sunset to 11 p.m. until the end of January, 2015. The façade of the department store's main building will be adorned with softly-lit golden lights, while the store window will creatively showcase a Christmas story using only silhouettes. This year, world famous light designer Marie Jean Gaudé was in charge of the department store's giant media façade project, overseeing all the details, such as the brightness, color, and speed of the lights.

Times Square

Huge Christmas trees stand at the outdoor plaza of Kyungbang Times Square. The three Christmas trees (measuring 18 meters, 5 meters, and 3 meters) are accompanied by reindeers pulling Santa's sleigh. The Christmas trees will be on display until the end of January 2015.

Seoul Plaza

This year, the lighting of the Christmas tree at Seoul Plaza started on November 29, 2014. Standing about 20 meters high, the towering tree, together with reindeer and Santa's sleigh, illuminate the surrounding plaza. The display will be there until January 2015. Seoul Plaza also operates an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter for visitors to fully enjoy the winter atmosphere in downtown Seoul.

Myeongdong Cathedral

Myeongdong Cathedral is the largest Gothic-style building in Korea's history of modern architecture. The cathedral is located in Myeong-dong, Seoul's trendiest shopping district. During the Christmas season, the area surrounding the cathedral is brightly illuminated with light decorations that portray a message of gratitude and blessing. One can truly feel the festive atmosphere amidst the crowds of shoppers, couples, and passersby in the streets of Myeong-dong.

Christmas Festivals at Theme Parks

Lotte World – Christmas Festival

Period: Nov 7 – Dec 25, 2014

Lotte World, located in Jamsil, Seoul, will host holiday festivities until December 25. During the Christmas Festival, the entire theme park is adorned with festive Christmas trees, ornaments, and other displays.

To add to the holiday fun, a variety of Christmas performances and events are held each day. This year's new eye-catching events are Santa's Special Gifts, to be held three times a day from December 1 to 25, and Christmas Under Land Tour, a parade running through the fun goblins' village on a small train. At night, the parade takes on an even more magical feel as the energy of the parade is paired with the vibrant colors of decorative lights and a special holiday fireworks show. 

Special events for this year's holiday season include Cinderella's Christmas Party (a family musical with Christmas carols and events), and Lotty's Christmas Music Show (featuring costume characters dancing to the medley of Christmas carols).

Everland – Christmas Fantasy

Period: Nov 7 – Dec 31, 2014

The Christmas Fantasy at Everland started on November 7, and The Romantic Illumination Festival at Everland started on November 14.

The highlight of the festival is Christmas Avenue, a glittering path of Christmas illuminations along the 500-meter street leading up from the main gate. The street takes on a romantic glow from the lighting, and the dazzling tunnel comprised of 120,000 LED lights is a must-see attraction for couples. Also, Magic Tree, with a 13-meter height and 5-meter circumference, is a signature attraction at Everland. This year, at the end of Christmas Avenue, there is a new Christmas Tree Street with twelve trees decorated with different kinds of fruit, romantic items, socks, and more.

The White Christmas Parade, with its artificial snow and Magic in the Sky, is a magnificent mix of laser lights and fireworks that light up the night sky through December 28. The Romantic Illumination Festival runs until March 1, 2015, whose sections are named Romantic Magic Garden, Romantic Avenue, Rose Castle Music Light Show, and Light Phone Zone.

Seoulland – Christmas Party

Period: Nov 22 – Dec 31, 2014

Seoulland welcomes you to their annual Christmas Party, which runs this year from November 22 to December 31, 2014. 

Visitors may see a wooden doll performance starring Korean characters like world star Psy, as well as enjoy strolling through Santa Village. They also can write a Christmas card to their beloved ones, which will be delivered on Christmas in 2015. The Light Show, which is held in the red windmill area, gives off the feeling that visitors are in Alice in Wonderland's rose garden. You can make a fond memory for yourself by taking pictures of the light displays and snowflakes, pine trees and animals at photo zones, all while humming your favorite Christmas carols.

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