It’s time to get romantic this festive season!
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we need to make the most of every day! It’s all too easy to lose sight of the big things and not take time out of our everyday routines to appreciate our other halves. So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to implement the 12 Dates Of Christmas to make sure we fit in some quality couple time at what is usually a very busy stretch of the year. We’ve come up with some suggestions to get you started, but the idea is that these 12 Dates Of Christmas don’t cost the earth. In fact, we’ve tried to make it as cheap and cheerful as possible (with a bit of imagination, you could even plan all your activities for free!). The 12 Days Of Christmas traditionally starts on 25th December, but we’re bending the rules and reckon you can start The 12 Dates Of Christmas on any day in November or December that suits you both.
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1. Pine-ing For You
There’s no better way to kick off the festive season than by choosing a Christmas tree. It’s not always possible to squish the 6-foot pine of your dreams into your Hong Kong flat, so you may need to temper your expectations. If you don’t know where to start looking, head to The Flower Market for a browse. You’ll find all sizes of real and artificial trees there (and may even pick up some decorations while you’re at it). Once you’ve bought your tree, bring it back and decorate it together while enjoying a glass or two of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Don’t forget to have some Christmas tunes playing in the background to really get you in the mood. We’ll be accessorising our trees with some of the gorgeous hanging decorations from The Lion Rock Press (keep an eye out for some particularly appropriate 2020 ones – complete with face masks!). Everybody now… “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”
2. Spice Things Up
We love a challenge here at Sassy HQ and think that dates with a competitive edge are always a winner. That’s why we will be introducing a “Ready, Steady, Cook” as one of our 12 Dates Of Christmas. You and your partner decide which one of you will be on main course duty and which one will be in charge of dessert. If you are taking on the main, your partner will pick out three ingredients that you need to include in your dish, and then you will pick out three ingredients that your partner needs to include in their dessert (or vice versa). You can either let each other know in advance what ingredients you have chosen (so you can make sure you have everything else you need to complete your meal in stock), or you can make it harder by only revealing them just before you have to start cooking. Make it more challenging by setting a time limit. Either way, at the end of it you should both get to sit down and enjoy a candlelit two-course, home-cooked dinner. And if all goes wrong, there’s always takeaway!
Read more: Your Guide To Christmas Dining At Home
3. Happy Trails
Plan a hike up Mount High West on a clear day so you reach its peak in time for sunset. There are plenty of steps to climb en route, but for your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with amazing 360-degree views of the city below. It’s around a 3km hike from Kennedy Town, which takes you through Lung Fu Shan Country Park. You might want to pack a craft beer to sip on at the top as you take in the sights and catch your breath. Don’t forget to bring your phone or a camera as you’ll definitely want to take some couple selfies. To mix things up on the hike down, head back via Lugard Road and the Morning Trail. If you’re too tired or if you lingered over that beer a little too long and it’s getting dark, you can always hop on the Peak Tram to deposit you back into Central.
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4. Catch A Flick
We couldn’t have a 12 Dates Of Christmas list without including a Christmas movie night. You can either both pick one festive-themed movie each and do a back-to-back viewing session, or toss a coin to see which one of you gets to pick the film. We can never pass up Love Actually at this time of year, but the choice is yours (depending on what you can find on Netflix!). All you need to complete your night is some popcorn and drinks. Then just cuddle up and wait for the feel-good factor to kick in!
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5. Long Walks On The Promenade
If, like us, you can’t help but marvel at Hong Kong’s skyline every time you see it lit up, then this is a date that will definitely appeal. Pack a picnic (a stop at M&S should help up your drink and snack game!) and take yourself off to the Art Park in West Kowloon Cultural District. Make sure you time your trip so that you arrive before dark and can eat your goodies as the sun goes down. All you need to do is a pick a spot on the grass by the Waterfront Promenade, throw down a blanket and enjoy the views looking over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island.
6. Music To My Ears
If you’re looking for a daytime date idea and are a fan of vinyl then take a trip on the MTR and while away some hours popping in and out of the record shops in Shek Kip Mei, Sham Shui Po and Prince Edward. It’s sure to spark up some conversations about your musical tastes and you may even end up making some purchases or finding a hidden gem! You’ll also find plenty of coffee shops around to call into when you need a pitstop.
7. Have You All To My Shelf
Similarly, if it’s books that float your boat rather than records, a day of bookshop browsing is another great daytime date idea. Some of our favourite ones to get lost in are the huge eslite in Hysan Place or Tai Koo Shing, Kelly & Walsh in Pacific Place, Taschen in Tai Kwun, Kubrick in Yau Ma Tei or second-hand treasure trove Flow Books on Queen’s Road Central. You might pick up some Christmas presents while you’re at it!
Read more: The Best Bookstores In Hong Kong
Our 12 Dates Of Christmas will definitely include a games day. Head to the top floor of the Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po and prepare to be transported back to the past. They have a great selection of Western and Asian arcade games to play and, in our experience, it’s never too busy. Or if you prefer board games to arcade games, make your way to Wheat and Wood in Kennedy Town. There’s an amazing collection of board games to choose from and you can order drinks and snacks (Red Velvet Cheesecake, yes please!) while you’re there! Just remember it shuts at 6pm, so you’ll probably want to plan your trip for a weekend.
9. A Quick Romantic Getaway
Take a day trip together. There’s no shortage of islands you can visit here in Hong Kong and one of our favourites is Cheung Chau. Waste no time on the way there by taking the fast ferry from pier 5 in Central, which takes around 35 minutes. Spend the day pottering around and take a leisurely hike up to North Lookout Pavilion for some good views. If you’d rather see the island on two wheels, you can easily hire a bike there. Make sure you refuel while you’re there at one of the many Cantonese restaurants, where seafood is a speciality. Take the slow ferry back at sundown (which takes around an hour) and pay a bit extra for deluxe class, which gives you access upstairs and to the outside deck!
10. All Bubbly Inside
Another way to soak up the sights of the city (and a great chilled date idea) is to plan a night of beers or bubble tea by the bay! Make a pit stop at one of the city’s best craft beer vendors to pick up some brews or follow our guide to make your own bubble tea and bring it with you. Then decide which waterfront to hit up for a stroll and a spot of people watching. You’ll likely find us at either Central Ferry Piers, Quarry Bay Park or the waterfront at Kennedy Town, Sai Wan Ho or TST.
11. To The Moon And Back
For a spot of culture, we recommend a museum date. Head to the Hong Kong Science Museum and get lost among its many interactive exhibits. Don’t miss the World of Mirrors and the 22-metre high Energy Machine! We’re also big fans of the Hong Kong Space Museum. Bring out your inner geek by having a go at “Gravity Surfing” together and pose for a photo inside a Re-Entry Capsule. Just remember that due to COVID-19 the museums are still limiting the number of visitors, so entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. Make sure you go early to avoid being disappointed!
12. Cheers To Us!
For the last date, you may as well push the boat out and treat yourselves to a fancy cocktail or mocktail at one of the city’s rooftop bars. Get dressed up for the occasion and make a night of it. To add a surprise element, why not pick each other’s cocktails? You may find you end up sampling more than one or two tipples on the menu. If you aren’t going to be spending the 25th December together, it’s an idea to swap gifts on the 12th Date Of Christmas too.
Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Borba via Pexels, image 1 courtesy of The Lion Rock Press via Instagram, image 2 courtesy of Sassy Media Group via Daisy Costello, image 3 courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District via Facebook, image 4 courtesy of Wheat and Wood via Facebook, image 5 courtesy of Taylor Grote via Unsplash.