How to Get in the Mood for Christmas (Singapore-Style)
It never feels like Christmas in Singapore. Thanks in large part to the unrelenting humidity, the country is primed to forget that the Yuletide season is around the corner, despite having reached the final month of the calendar. While the snowier cities west of the globe witness a literal transformation, the scenery tends to remain unchanged over on our side of the pond, save for a few rainstorms. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we can’t be merry and feel the warm, fuzzy sensations that come with all things Christmassy. Here’s a round-up of the most magical spots in Singapore that will get you in the mood to spread some seasonal cheer.
1. Capitol Singapore
Winter has descended upon Capitol Singapore, an Instagram-worthy gem of a spot with an upscale theatre and a plethora of boutiques and dining options. It has zhuzhed up its venues in preparation for the festive season, and introduced a European-themed Christmas market featuring the most charming of food stalls, game booths and retail stands. An ice skating rink has also been erected in the middle of the piazza, as well as a Santa Claus meet-and-greet station (which includes the chance of receiving surprise gifts) and an 8-metre tall singing Christmas tree with 30 carollers bringing it to life with performances at select times (7.30pm to 8pm, and 8.30pm to 9pm, from 13 to 24 December). To complete the wintery experience, witness snowfall each night from now until the last day of the event (Christmas Eve), taking place at 7.15pm, 8.15pm and 9.15pm sharp.
Take a five-minute stroll from Capitol to Chijmes, where the festivities continue. The historic locale, in all its grandiosity and Gothic-style beauty, is taken up a notch and decked in Christmas lights, technicolour baubles, and rustic wreaths. It’ll also feature not one, but seven art installations, inspired by seasonal ornaments, that will light at 7pm every night until 25 December. At 8pm, venture to the back of Chijmes Hall for a laser projection show depicting animated Christmas scenes on the facade of the edifice. Keep your eyes peeled for QR codes that will be flashed periodically during the show for you to scan and redeem free gifts from Chijmes. Besides photo ops, you’ll be treated to a bevy of roving musicians, carollers and mascots to get you into the joyous spirit.
3. Gardens by the Bay
Ring in the Yuletide season at the crowd-favourite Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay, an annual event that sees the transformation of the lush park into a whimsical, light-filled dreamscape. Taking place from now until 26 December, this year’s edition of the festival includes an inaugural Christmas Parade, and a new interactive Santa’s Workshop. Revel in the circus performances and carols, whilst surrounded by technicolour illuminations, more than 40 mesmerising sculptures, the tallest luminarie Christmas tree in Asia at 21 metres, and a 22-metre mirror maze. There’s also a carnival that’s chock-full of traditional rides, 24 wooden huts modelled after famed Christmas markets in London, and a line-up of gourmet food stalls prepared by Michelin-starred, celebrity chefs.
4. Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza
Mosey over to Orchard Road to experience “Christmas on a Great Street” from now till 1 January. If you thought this renowned shopping belt is going out of style, think again. Sprucing it up are not just your average tree lights, but a full-on illuminated wintery village with glowing installations, a 4-metre tall, psychedelic tunnel, as well as countless pop-up boutiques (courtesy of Chomel, Vivo, SingTel and Irvins) lining the street. The dazzling displays along Orchard Road, a yearly Christmas staple, never fail to disappoint. Topped off with live performances, carnival offerings and platters of ambrosian treats to try, it makes for a sublime street to stroll down, one that will get you straight into the holiday mode.
5. Changi Airport
There’s a reason why Changi Airport is named the World’s Best Airport for the seventh consecutive year—it is a destination in itself, catering to tourists and locals alike. Take the little ones to Terminal 3 and immerse them in the world of Frozen, complete with a colossal castle, four activity zones inspired by the elements of earth, wind, fire and water, and a light-and-snow performance based on Frozen 2. The festivities, held from now until 5 January, continues at Terminal 2, where a 3-metre tall sculpture of Olaf the snowman stands, and Jewel, which will house a Christmas market with Arendelle-themed booths and workshops on leather crafting and ukulele painting.
Image credit: Gardens by the Bay