Four days before Christmas, many buildings and shopping centers in Saigon are sparkling with colorful lights and decorations.
At the city center, the Tan Dinh Cathedral’s pink facade has been embellished with strings of star-shaped electric lights hung outside.
Le Thanh Hoai, a Saigon resident puts up the glossy ornaments on a Christmas tree in front of a shopping center in District 1. Hoai gets really busy from late November to December every year, he said, since he is hired to decorate many buildings.
“I usually work at night, from 10 p.m. to early morning since the shopping centers close at that time, and there are few people around.” Hoai has been doing this job for more than 10 years.
Van Luan becomes a Santa Claus to sell Christmas souvenirs in front of a shopping center.
“I have been doing this job for four years. When the Christmas season is over I will find a new job. These days, the best thing is to take pictures with children.”
Liya Wetzler, 14, a tourist from Israel, takes a picture for her brother at a shopping center on the Le Loi – Pasteur intersection.
“The Christmas ambience here is so wonderful, they make beautiful and creative decorations. The Christmas songs played are very meaningful,” she said.
With “Jingle Bells” playing in the background, people take pictures against Xmas-themed installations.
“Every year our family goes to the shopping centers or churches to enjoy the atmosphere. I wish everyone a happy Christmas season,” said Nhat Vy, a Saigon resident.
Alleys in several neighborhoods are glittering as residents get set to celebrate Xmas and the New Year.
Several residents, though, say that they have put up fewer lights than in previous years, because many families have not had enough time to prepare.
In a small alley on Pham Van Hai Street, Tan Binh District, locals have created a nativity scene.
At the Ho Chi Minh City Cancer Hospital, hospital staff dress up as Santa Claus to give Xmas gifts to the children.