12 Days of Christmas | A dozen gifts to buy while drunk at Pop-Up Beijing

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Rare is that place where you can drop by for a glass of wine, end up knocking back a bottle or three, and wake the next morning groggy of head, foggy of memory and cuddling a salmon steak pillow. So it goes when one liberally mixes booze and home furnishings. To celebrate the upcoming 12 Days of Christmas, here are a dozen items the inebriated might well find themselves buying as gifts after that third bottle of Tarami Rose at Pop-Up Beijing bar, an extension of the interior design store of the same name. (My apologies for the poor quality of some photos. I was, indeed, drinking wine while taking them.)

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“Come quickly, I am drinking stars!” monk Dom Perignon reportedly exclaimed while tasting Champagne. You might not see stars at Pop-Up but staring at chandelier lights while guzzling Cava is close enough. Buying all of the fixtures above will cost over 50,000 kuai, be a bitch to fit into the taxi home and spike the electricity bill of that lucky friend who has to install them in his / her 60-square-meter abode. But they’ll also make a great conversation piece when that same friend holds his / her next home fondue party.


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Speed freak friends will love this ancient wheel — with stand — as it represents how far our species has progressed to reach the exciting heights of F1 racing. It also doubles as a blunt object with which to strike those who claim NASCAR is superior.


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I’m told by the staff these antique mooncake moulds are one of the most popular items at Pop-Up. And why not, given they are 1) relatively inexpensive, 2) sourced from all over China thus making one feel all historical and cultural and stuff and 3) could easily be used for massive jello shots. Buy them by the dozen, friends.


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This artwork is perfect for any capitalist swine’s bedroom. Who wouldn’t want to wake to teeth whiter than the whitest holiday snow, teeth that form part of a smile that joyfully says, “We will resolutely reduce your decadent homeland to a roiling sea of fire. Merry Christmas!”


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These vases, exclusive to Pop Up, are sourced from a small producer in Jingdezhen and delightfully contrast subtle curves and abrupt endings, much like a fine hand-crafted frankfurter, if that sausage were made from bone-white ceramic. If you spot a woman staring indecisively at these vases for more than ten minutes, that’s Belinda. Please say hi to her for me.


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I’m not sure if this hen pillow is stuffed with feathers — it cluckin’ well better be, ha ha ha ha, sigh — but it’s cute and hug-able. It’s part of a series that includes a “shrimp pillow” one can loop around one’s neck, thus making it both useful and fashionable on any long-haul flight.


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And if you have a vegetarian / vegan / veg-whatever people in your life, consider giving them a salmon steak pillow. They can dry hump it in private while they continue to exude a moral superiority in public toward the eating habits of you and everyone else.


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This horse head is everything your father wants for Christmas and more. I’m not being sexist: I vaguely remember reading somewhere that men are at least ten times more likely as women to desire intimacy with a wooden horse head. Google it if you don’t believe me.


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This map of Beijing. It’ll help as you stumble home. Trade it for a taxi ride.


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This metal box will easily store all of your dreams. Write each dream on a piece of paper and then, as you are unable to fulfill one due to the copious amounts of money you are spending on booze at Pop Up, place that paper in the box. Once the box is full… well, if you have as many dreams as do I, you’ll be dead long before that happens. Which reminds me: it’s also a nice place to keep your will.


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Like the mooncake moulds, trays like this one are popular as they are 1) relatively inexpensive, 2) are sourced from… actually, I have no idea where they are sourced, let’s just say from all over China, and 3) can be used as giant wine glass coasters.


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More wine. It starts at rmb180 a bottle, with three by-the-glass options at rmb50, or rmb35 during the 5 PM to 7 PM daily happy hours.

Pop-Up Beijing is in Sanlitun South, on the first floor of the building between Jing-A and The Local.

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Get regular Beijing updates via my Instagram and Twitter feeds. Also see my sibling sites Grape Wall of China, World Baijiu Day and World Marselan Day. Help cover the hosting and other costs of these sites with a WeChat, AliPay or PayPal donation.

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