Christmas has become a happy time for the entire community despite the fact that it is a Christian festival. The Xmas atmosphere has overwhelmed the capital city’s streets even though there are two more weeks left to go.

Shopping centres, supermarkets and the larger hotels in Hanoi such as Vincom Towers, the Big C supermarket and the Sofitel Metrople Hotel are all colourfully decorated and big pine trees and figures of Santa Claus riding reindeer have been placed in the lobbies of big hotels.

Meanwhile, toy streets such as Hang Ma, Ba Trieu and Luong Van Can, have attracted thousands of customers to their shops full of different toys and Christmas decorations ranging from bells, different coloured stars and Santa Claus costumes.

Le Truong Son, the owner of a toy shop in Luong Van Can Street, said that pine trees are the first choice of many customers. This year trees come in all different sizes and designs with some even measuring between 3-4m tall and prices range from 300,000 VND to 800,000 VND and even millions VND. Although the price of trees has risen by 25 percent this year, the number of customers has not fallen.

Locally made Christmas products, especially pine trees, are selling faster than imported ones due to their eye catching designs and cheaper prices.

Additionally, cakes are essential for any Christmas party, including traditional cakes made with dairy ice-cream, chocolate and fruit at a cost of between 50,000 VND and 300,000 VND each. Some bakeries have also introduced cakes in different shapes such as Santa Claus shaped chocolate cakes.

The Christmas atmosphere is present in many families. Nguyen Thi Tuoi, a Catholic from the northern province of Nam Dinh , said that Christmas is not only the biggest festival of the year for Catholics but also an occasion for families to get together.

Phan Thuy Ha, who lives in Ly Thuong Kiet Street in Hanoi, said that although he is not a Christian, he will buy a nice pine tree and decorate it before Christmas and the New Year.

Hanoi will see 40,000 Catholics and Protestants welcome in Christmas at churches across the city./.