Don’t let the tropical weather fool you – Singapore around Christmas time can feel just as, if not more festive than countries much closer to the Arctic Circle. While it might be a little too warm to pull on a Christmas sweater, there are still plenty of other festive traditions that are alive and well in the country.
Considering the influence that the West has had on Singapore throughout history, the presence of Christmas traditions is hardly surprising. And, with its reputation for being one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world, you just know that when the Singaporeans do Christmas, they certainly don’t hold back.
Orchard Road Christmas Lights
Arguably the main attraction is the Orchard Road Christmas lights, a permanent fixture in Singapore’s festive calendar that attracts thousands of visitors throughout the period. From November 23rd, the lights will turn the main retail and leisure hub of the Lion City into a mile-long multi-coloured spectacle, with the malls that line the precinct all vying to outdo one another to win the ‘Best Dressed Building’ contest (you can get involved and have your say too, by voting via the @Orchard smartphone app available for both iOS and Android).
Christmas by the River
The light display is often cited as one of the most impressive in the world, and what’s more, this year it’s set to become even bigger. For the first time the decorations will extend beyond the confines of Orchard Road and down to the banks of the Singapore River as part of the inaugural ‘Christmas by the River’ celebrations. Accompanying the display will be a daily Christmas market running from November 15th to December 15th, while carol singers will be on hand on Friday and Saturday nights to bring even more Christmas cheer.
Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without lunch, and while there’s nothing quite like a homemade meal, there are also plenty of options for those that can’t/won’t cook. Those looking to push the boat out could head to the luxurious Fullerton Hotel for a champagne brunch or Raffles Hotel for the full Christmas dinner works, while the likes of the Goodwood Park Hotel and Parkroyal on Beach Road also offer highly-rated buffet lunches.
The Tanglin Mall ‘Avalanche’
Though the chance of actual snow in Singapore is virtually zero, Tanglin Mall, along with competing for the title of ‘Best Dressed Building’, is once again hosting its Golden Traditional Christmas, complete with its own daily ‘avalanche’. It might not be real but that hasn’t stopped revellers young and old turning up in their droves to play in the foam snowstorm, while the giant Christmas tree (surely one of the biggest in the city-state), Santa’s grotto and reindeer all add further to the festive feel.
Singapore’s biggest snowman at Snow City
If you want more than the Tanglin Mall’s artificial avalanche, then head over to Snow City, Singapore’s first permanent indoor snow centre, where you and the family can spend a couple of hours playing in actual snow. The centre is also running a child-friendly snow show with an educational twist, and is hosting an ice sculpture exhibition, the most impressive of which is officially Singapore’s largest snowman, sculpted from 2,800kg of ice and standing at 5.2m tall.
Let Metro decorate your home!
Another retailer entering into the spirit of things is department store chain Metro, which is aiming to take the stress of decorating out of its customers’ lives, leaving them free to go out and experience all the festivities in Singapore. Spend over $1,000 at its Metro Trim Shoppe and they will also deliver you a tree and send along a stylist to dress it for you, leaving you free to enjoy something other than the stress of tangled tinsel.
If you’re in Singapore this Christmas, there’s no excuse not to get into the festive spirit. If anything, spare a thought for those in colder climes, who don’t have the luxury of taking Christmas lunch out in the garden and probably won’t even see any snow (fake or otherwise!).