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Santa's real workshop: the town in China that makes the world's Christmas decorations

Santa's real workshop: the town in China that makes the world's Christmas decorations
There’s red on the ceiling and red on the floor, red dripping from the window sills and red globules splattered across the walls. It looks like the artist Anish Kapoor has been let loose with his wax cannon again. But this, in fact, is what the making of Christmas looks like; this is the very heart of the real Santa’s workshop – thousands of miles from the North Pole, in the Chinese city of Yiwu. Our yuletide myth-making might like to imagine that Christmas is made by rosy-cheeked elves hammering away in a snow-bound log cabin somewhere in the Arctic Circle. But it’s not. The likelihood is that most of those baubles, tinsel and flashing LED lights you’ve draped liberally around your house came from Yiwu, 300km south of Shanghai – where there’s not a (real) pine tree nor (natural) snowflake in sight. “Maybe it’s like [Chinese] New Year for foreigners,” says 19-year-old Wei, a worker who came to Yiwu from rural Guizhou province this year, speaking to Chinese news agency Sina.

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