The winter holidays are here, and it’s time for my favorite tradition — buying gifts for myself. OK, family comes first, of course. This year I am overjoyed to play Santa for the first time, and it’s pure pleasure to give gifts to my family. I now do a lot of my shopping online, both for gifts as well as daily staples of life. I’m not a pro with Chinese, but when I use Google Chrome’s browser and the incredible Zhongwen popup translator, I can now easily get around major shopping websites such as Taobao, Tmall, and the newer Jingdong — but my favorite remains Amazon China. I’m still quite comfortable with Amazon’s familiar, simple interface; higher quality selection (usually) and same day/next day deliveries — usually for free! Below is my top list of essentials. Take a look — and there’s still time for delivery by Christmas!
Winter warmers — If you’re stuck in Beijing’s winter, or even worse, in Shanghai without any indoor heating, you simply must try most of these. For starters, just pick up a radiator or infrared heater 取暖器. But I strongly recommend you buy a foot soak machine 足浴盆, as they are wonderful on a cold night! I was told the Kanglida brand 康立达足浴盆 was good, and ours has been working fine for years. All the good machines keep the water warm at specified temperatures forever, with vibration modes which will lull you into a glorious stupor. Another necessity is an ultrasonic humidifier 超声波加湿器 to keep Beijing’s bone dry air to a more comfy 30-50%. Also, don’t forget about nuan bao bao 暖宝宝 — these small heating pads stick to your clothes, and they radiate glorious muscle-relaxing heat for over 12 hours. They sell a lot of brands of 暖宝宝 but my favorite quality brand is Kobayashi from Japan. They carry a big line of warming products for the back, shoulders, toes — even your pet!
Food — We love to wake up to fresh soy milk, which literally takes only 20 minutes. There are many brands of these soy milk machines 豆浆机 available, and a major brand is Joyoung 九阳豆浆机. If you’re worried about milk in China (and who isn’t?), then anyone anywhere in China could just order imported UHT milk. Oldenburger, from Germany, is an especially good value. And did you know it’s incredibly easy to make your own yogurt? Just buy a yogurt maker, such as from the Bear brand 小熊 of 酸奶机 (click here to read more details on DIY yogurt). And don’t forget to pamper yourself with luxuries like Kirkland truffles — or any other Kirkland food item. How about some very economical honey imported from France?
Air pollution — They may not have some of the most familiar expat brands, but they carry a big list of air purifiers 空气净化器 for sale. Daikin, Sharp, etc — including the Philips AC4074, which did very well against PM2.5 and formaldehyde in tests from Shanghai (read the report here). They also have a bunch of PM2.5 masks here at pm2.5口罩, but I would usually stick with 3M. Want to make your own purifier with a HEPA filter (HEPA过滤网) and a fan? You can then test its effectiveness with your own PM2.5 particle monitor (PM2.5空气质量检测仪). One of the cheaper plug-in models is from Dylos. Their cheaper 1100 model is available here, but at much higher cost than in the USA.
Happy shopping — and happy holidays!
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