Yiwu, China is the closest thing to a real Christmas village as you can get. With 600 factories, they produce about 60 percent of our Christmas decorations.
“China’s Christmas Village” is located in Yiwu, a city in the Zhejiang Province. Though there are no elves, snow or reindeer in sight, Yiwu produces around 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations.
The UN referred to the real Christmas village as the “largest small commodity wholesale market in the world,” and it’s easy to see why. In the region’s 600 factories, migrant laborers work exhausting 12-hour days, assembling a majority of the ornaments, snowflakes, tinsel and other decorations by hand. Despite working long hours and being exposed to various chemicals, employees only earn about $460 a month.
Once the decorations are completed, they are driven in truckloads to a large exhibition center, where fake Christmas trees, Santas, snowflakes, tinsel and LED lights line the streets. Here decorations are bought in bulk and shipped internationally to meet the needs of consumers—often Americans—who seek cheap decorations. While Yiwu’s decoration sales soared during the recession, the real Christmas village now faces more competition and decreased demand.