Giant blowup Santa doll poses like Marilyn Monroe

Story highlights

  • Santa Claus doll outside China shopping mall imitates Marilyn Monroe's famous "Seven Year Itch" pose
  • In China, Santa Claus is referred to as "Christmas Old Man"
  • Christmas is not a public holiday in China, so all businesses and schools remain open

So this is Christmas. A coquettish Santa Claus, rocking a sexy version of his traditional red suit while doing his best Marilyn Monroe "Seven Year Itch" pose.

The wide-mouthed blowup doll was erected outside a mall in Taiyuan, the capital of China's northern Shanxi province, to appeal to shoppers and tourists.

Santa Monroe's face, like some other displays around the world, isn't entirely what the holiday season is all about and certainly rather extreme.

China isn't Germany, for example -- a country in which you'd expect to find yourself caught up in the Christmas spirit.

But not unlike other parts of the world, every November many shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and other commercial venues across China coat themselves in a sugary sweet layer of beautiful and occasionally unusual trees, festive light displays and other holiday kitsch.

MORE: Are there too many 'German' Christmas markets?

And they can come by the decorations cheap thanks to the Chinese city of Yiwu, often called "The Christmas Capital of the World" for the high number of factories producing holiday decorations that are exported globally.

    Though there are reports Christianity is on the rise in China, it wouldn't be accurate to say most ordinary Chinese equate Christmas with religion or the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's not a public holiday in China so all businesses and schools remain open on December 25.

    That hasn't stopped many locals from buying into the gift giving and party traditions of the season.

    It's a trend retail outlets are more than happy to cater to, piping Christmas music through speakers and laying on the tinsel to get shoppers in the mood to spend.

    If you really want to enjoy the season, there's no Christmas theme but China's most wintery attraction is the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

    Though it doesn't officially kick off until January 5, many of the displays go up in mid-December and are open for visitors.

    MORE: 10 most Christmassy destinations on the planet