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[Weekender] Last chance to get into the festive mood

Christmas decorations and lights fill every corner of city

Dec. 24, 2022 - 16:01 By Hwang Dong-hee
Lotte Department Store in Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, central Seoul (Lotte Department Store)

It’s getting colder come evenings, but the crosswalks are bustling with people taking photos.

Christmas decorations and lights illuminate the streets and alleys. People flock around the seasonal attractions, enjoying the holiday spirit with friends, lovers and family.

Hotels and department stores are in a fierce competition to see who puts up the best, brightest and biggest decorations. Social media is bursting with suggestions on the perfect spot to take photos of popular decorations as well as tips for photo-taking.

Shinsegae Department Store's media facade (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Myeong-dong area

Two major department stores located in the Myeong-dong area are back for another year-end match.

After scoring a hit with its media facade last year, Shinsegae’s main store has returned with another, this time with the theme of "Magical Winter Fantasy" that runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The three-minute show unfolds a journey to a Christmas party at a magical castle. A feast of color featuring ornaments, fancy presents, chandeliers and fireworks decorates the front of the store. The display uses about 3.5 million LEDs, 2.1 million more than last year.

Lotte’s main store also presents a media show with a story of the Tonttu elves from Nordic folklore.

The entire facade is decorated with Christmas-themed lights and holly, under the theme of “Christmas Dream Moments.”

Each window displays a story of delicately decorated miniatures that spin and twirl at the push of a button.

There is a booth at the main entrance where you can take photos with the Tonttus.

is a photo spot where you can take photos with Tonttus.

The Hyundai Seoul in Yeoui-do, Seoul (The Hyundai Seoul)

Yeongdeungpo area

The Hyundai Seoul in Yeoui-do, Yeongdeungpo-gu, was one of the earliest venues to sport Christmas-themed decorations this year.

The entire fifth floor of the department store has been turned into a 3,300-square-meter Christmas village, complete with a 13-meter Christmas tree and 120 snow-covered trees. Eleven cabins and 6,000 lights complete the Christmas wonderland, which took more than three weeks to complete.

The giant Christmas tree glows with red teddy bears while the small cabins are toy shops and cafes. Up on the sixth floor is a photo zone where the entire village can be seen.

The light show appears at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Time Square in Yeongdeungpo is another popular spot to take in Christmas tree decorations. Last year, a fountain and a tunnel made with lights were installed around the tree. This year, the decorations are smaller in sizes but there are more trees.

“Charlotte Garden" in front of the Lotte World Tower, Songpa-gu, southeastern Seoul (Lotte World Tower)
Christmas market on the first floor of the Lotte World Mall (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Songpa-gu area

Three major spots in the Songpa-gu area are operated by Lotte Group. The park outside Lotte World Tower in Songpa-gu has been transformed into a huge Christmas-themed park called “Charlotte Garden.”

The “Wish Tree” has grown three meters taller than last year to reach 18 meters and is illuminated with 5,000 lights. Underneath the tree, a mirror room decorated with a chandelier is another site to visit. A light show is held at the tree every 30 minutes.

Through the shining tunnel and past the fountain is a merry-go-round with 1,900 lights. The carousel holds about 40 people and anyone can board with a purchase receipt of 30,000 won or more at the mall.

A Christmas market has opened on the first floor of the Lotte World Mall with holiday props, party ware and nutcrackers for sale.

In the middle of the open market, a long line forms in front of the three-story “Lotte Town.” The 9-meter pyramid with doors everywhere. Open one and -- like in “Alice in Wonderland,” more doors appear, with doors beyond that. Other doors conceal their own surprises. Inside the main entrance, a mirror room with shining beads give a sense of endless space.

Lotte World Adventure, an amusement park in Songpa-gu, is running its Christmas season program until Dec. 31. The iconic Magic Castle is decorated with red and green Christmas lights with snowing visual effects. At 8:40 p.m., a five-minute media art show fills the castle with a swirl of colors and fireworks.

A Christmas tree at Starfield Library in Coex Mall, Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul (Shinsegae Property)
“La Grange” in front of the Hyundai Department Store’s Trade Center (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Gangnam-gu area

The Christmas tree has turned golden this year from last year's silver at the Starfield Library at Coex Mall, Gangnam-gu. The 11-meter golden tree shines brightly among the tall bookshelves at the open library.

A 3-minute media lighting show with the theme of "Love Together" is shown against the background of the 13-meter-high bookshelves every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Snowmen have snowball fights, fairies fly between bookshelves and fireworks embroider library to the Christmas-themed rhythms. The media show runs until Jan. 15.

Hyundai Department Store’s Trade Center has set up a wooden cabin, “La Grange,” at its main entrance. Pass media art of a snowy forests to enter the mock grain warehouse. A large Christmas tree is on display at the end, bears wearing Santa hats wave their hands and teddy bears are piled up in the corner. A large table in the middle is decorated with candles and cakes creating a warm, inviting air.