Bright lights, huge decorative displays of toy soldiers and reindeers outside malls, imagining the almost-daily raindrops to be snow, giving, spending shopping, cool weather, the random appearance of Santa in malls, shopping crowds, hearing Christmas songs EVERYWHERE, gatherings, eating and more eating - that's the feel of Christmas in Singapore. There's a lot happening this time of the year so here's a list of things to do to soak in the atmosphere and feel all Christmas-y!
1. Have a Christmas buffet
It's that time of the year when not only turkeys get stuffed, but humans too. Almost all hotel buffets will offer turkey, hams and roasts as additions to the Christmas menu. Just a tip - make a booking in advance because families gather, company team dinners are held and people just want to enjoy a good buffet to mark the year-end. Many bank credit cards also offer great dining offers like 1-for-1 deals so it's good to find out by calling the hotels/restaurants first.
2. Visit Gardens by the Bay for Christmas Wonderland
Gardens by the Bay has prepared luminaries in its precinct and organised a festive market and an array of performances under Christmas Wonderland. Since the tropics is deprived of snow, there will also be foam blizzard to enjoy! (We visited Christmas Wonderland in 2015!)
Photo source: http://gardensbythebay.christmaswonderland.sg/
3. Take a stroll down Marina Bay Promenade
Support ChariTrees which is a fund raising project by the Community Chest. A row of Christmas trees are lit and lined up along the Promenade for you to enjoy along with the beautiful night skyline of the central business district. Support them by donating at comchest.sg. O yes the Salvation Army is also pretty prominent during Christmas in Singapore - you will hear ice-cream bells ringing in public spaces and you'll find red tins to drop your donations in.
4. Get frozen
How is Christmas without some ice or snow? Ice skate at The Rink (at Jurong) or Kallang Ice World. The Rink will be holding some events and activities like Disco on Ice! For snow, visit Snow City. (If you've never seen snow this is great. If you are from a country with 4 seasons, maybe you could give Snow City a miss. :D)
Photo source: http://www.therink.sg/
5. Go mall hopping
Seriously, Christmas draws more shoppers than the Great Singapore Sale in June. The shopping crowds are amazing and the atmosphere in malls just makes you want to buy a present for everyone. Nearing 25th December, the malls will experience a surge or shoppers, and the queues at the gift wrapping counters are just, long. Get your spouse or friend to stand in line for the gift wrapping service while you pay, or you can just grab the wrapping paper and DIY at home. Every shopping centre will be spruced up with lightings, blings and humongous giant sized Santas and Rudolfs.
7. Universal Studios Singapore
USS has lined up some Christmas-y performances and mini events. Click here for programme additions around the theme park.
8. Pre-order a leg of ham, turkey or log cake
Expect to be invited for parties and gatherings. Because cooking a 4kg turkey at home requires a huge oven, skill and a lot of patience, most hosts/guests pre-order from supermarkets (Cold Storage, NTUC, Market Place, Giant) or hotels (try Goodwood Park Hotel, Marina Mandarin Hotel - if you are on a budget, Cold Storage turkeys and hams are great too). Hotels and supermarkets also offer traditional fruit and log cakes, and Christmas platters so it makes things easier for those who can't cook/bake for nuts are busy. Look out for counters at supermarkets to place your order at or call the hotels to order - usually you can't buy cooked Christmas roasts off the shelf. Most of the places you order from require you to pick up your items on the set date.
Photo source: http://www.goodwoodparkhotel.com/
9. Visit a church
Churches normally hold plays or musicals for the public to enjoy and celebrate Christmas with them!