Hard to picture celebrating the holidays in the tropics? The Finder makes it easy with this cheat sheet for the whole fam.
SEE THE LIGHTS
Singapore is no slouch with its twinkly light displays.
The 35,000-square-metre grounds transform into a Christmas Wonderland and gift fair. Don’t miss the 56 Luminarie light sculptures or Christmas Toyland floral display.
Celebrate a Victorian Christmas with dear ol’ Scrooge or hang out on the nights of December 12, 19 and 29 for the set-to-music Christmas Fireworks Spectacular.
3. Orchard Road
Start your stroll at Plaza Singapura and head down to Tanglin Mall to see the city at its glitteriest. Take your family’s Christmas card photo at the frosted holiday arbor in front of ION Orchard, or snap a shot at Wisma Atria’s customised Christmas bell.
Indulge your kids’ Saint Nick fix, and maybe add another photo to that hilarious crying baby meme.
4. Tanglin Mall
Snap a wefie with the guy in red and his spicy pal the Gingerbread Man as they treat your little ones to sweets and chocolates Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13 and 20 at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (163 Tanglin Rd)
5. Cluny Court
Swing by the photo booth in the mall between Nov. 18 and Dec. 6 for a pic with Kris Kringle. (501 Bukit Timah Rd,)
Keep an eye out for Santa and his friendly elves, as they’ll be dishing out chocolates and other goodies every weekend in December. Santa is also bringing a face painter with him, so don’t be shy to ask for some wearable art.
FIND YOUR TREE
A word of advice: Order ASAP from these Tannenbaum shops so you don’t miss out.
Fun’s live Nordmann fir trees from Scandinavia don’t shed as much as other conifers ($99 for 1.5 metres, $199 for 1.8 metres). Check out the beautiful decorations imported from Denmark while you’re there. (551 Thomson Rd)
From compact 4-footers to 11-foot stunners, Far East Flora has sturdy Noble firs plus a tree disposal service. Its wines, cakes and pretty hamper baskets make for yummy gifts. (565 Thomson Rd)
Yay! IKEA is extending its live tree recycling service to non-IKEA trees. Bring your tree and receipt to any store from Dec. 26 to Jan. 17 for a 50-percent rebate off the purchase price. Non-IKEA trees receive a $5 gift card. Check out the darling VINTER 2015 collection, too.
If you’d rather fake it, go to The Verge in Little India. Level 5 is all about artificial trees and festive bits and bobs. Short on time? Pick up a fully decorated faker at Vanda Win, Ming Sing Flowers, Steve’s Florist, Chin Giap Soon or Daco Marketing. ($5 and up; 2 Serangoon Rd)
DECOR THE HALLS
Whether you’re going all out or adding a few touches, the trimmings picks are endless.
The Metro Christmas Magic pop-up shops have an inspiringly curated collection, from every-colour glass ornaments to gold-dipped poinsettias, fanciful pheasant feathers and even rhinestone poodles ($133 each) – because, you know, why not?
Everything at this popular Japanese franchise is priced at $2, so you can find baubles and wreaths, mini trees, gift boxes and stocking stuffers on a modest budget. The outlets at IMM, VivoCity and Plaza Singapura are the three biggest and have better variety.
Nip down to Robinsons The Heeren, Metro Paragon or Metro Centrepoint for a little lunchtime shopping at Pollyanna’s fab trim shops with items starting at $13, like porcelain Nativity sets, Christmas tree figurines and fuzzy, felt gnome statuettes.
Add some razzle dazzle to your holiday decorations with the beautiful finds at TANGS pop-up shops. There are also plenty of gifting ideas (think beauty and skincare sets) outside TANGS at Tang Plaza. Spend a minimum of $100 for complimentary gift wrapping. (310 Orchard Rd)
15. City Square Mall
With a minimum spend of $50, get a Meet & Greet pass, which lets your tot say hi to a certain yellow sponge and his starfish bestie. Take photos in SpongeBob’s Pineapple House and do the Krabby Patty dance. Then, enjoy the daily dancing lights and snowfall at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the City Green Park on Level 1. (180 Kitchener Rd)
DELIGHT THE KIDS
Each of these locations is accessible by public transport and close to tasty eating destinations, so Mum and Dad can multitask.
16. Snow City
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Go here. Snow City creates between 10 and 15 tonnes of real snow weekly. Rent your winter gear at the entrance, step into the sub-freezing Snow Chamber and have fun! Slide down the 60-metre-long snow slope, and warm up afterwards at The Alpine restaurant with a swig of beer and German eats. (21 Jurong Town Hall Rd)
17. Orchard Central
Whether its quirky gift ideas from Toyku Hands, pampering treats from Shea or goodies from Dean & Deluca, the annual OC Christmas Market Place is perfect for last-minute shopping. Keep the kids occupied with a life-size carousel and don’t forget to snap a pic of the 8-metre Christmas tree. (181 Orchard Rd)
GET YOUR BRUNCH ON
Christmas brunch is a thing in Singapore. These delicious spots promise a dining experience to remember.
18. Carousel @ Royal Plaza on Scotts
You’ll be spoilt for choice at Carousel’s extravagant buffet, which offers Mediterranean, Asian and Japanese fare, a lavish seafood spread, a French Rotisserie and more. Mr. Claus will pay a visit, and you’ll receive complimentary party favours. The kitchens are halal-certified so you won’t have to worry if your helper is dining with you. ($40 for adults, $68 for children; 25 Scotts Rd)
19. The Disgruntled Chef (TDC)
Tuck into beet-cured Norwegian salmon, chicken vin jaune and a sweet coconut meringue with TDC’s three-course prix fixe lunch. Have brunch at the Dempsey space if you’d like a laidback ambience, or head to the newest outlet at The Club on Ann Siang Road for a proper Christmas in the city. Rent the 12-seater private dining space for intimate get-togethers. ($48)
20. Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Buffet must-tries: the popiah spring rolls, cheese and charcuterie selection and rich desserts like the Christmas pudding with sweet brandy cream. There are three seatings: 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., with free-flow sparkling, red and white wines. Enter via Tyersall Avenue for the shortest walk. Find prices and reservations online. (1 Cluny Rd)
SERVE A SPREAD
Leave the stovetop slaving to the pros and try these ready-made feasts instead.
21. Goodwood Park
Take the path less trodden and present a curry turkey with potatoes, carrots and onions and crispy baguettes for dipping in the gravy ($218). Complement it with turkey kueh pie tee – a popular Peranakan appetiser ($32 for 20 pieces), slow roasted Iberico pork belly (below; $320) and Goodwood Park’s D24 Durian Snowmen ($38 per pair). (22 Scotts Rd)
22. Cold Storage
A meat lover’s dream, Cold Storage’s 10 different dinner deals include pre-cooked turkeys, roast beef, ribs, sausages or 35 different hams as well as antipasto and wrap platters and two delicious log cakes. Pick up the Christmas Catalogue 2015 and order form at any store islandwide and submit your orders in-store, or order online for extra convenience.
Master Butcher Leonhard Weber has whipped up a Roasted Turkey with Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing and a limited edition Smoked Juniper Berry Ham ($178) and hampers aplenty! (7 Raffles Blvd)
The totally yum Tom Yum turkey is back this year alongside its traditional roasted counterpart ($138 each). But if you really want to turn up the heat, give the Peri-Peri turkey with Portuguese paprika roasted potatoes a go ($148). Also available for take-away: vegetarian lasagne, festive log cakes in three flavours, a two-kilogramme honey-baked ham and assorted Christmas cookies. (11 Canning Walk)
25. Ryan’s Grocery
If you’re expecting guests who are big on clean eating, then carve up the Classic Christmas Roast Set A: roast turkey, organic grass-fed roast beef and a gluten-free honey baked ham ($298) or Set B, which comes with a complimentary bottle of Latasha’s Kitchen Relish ($198). There is also a range of gluten-free, organic sausages in flavours like cranberry and chestnut or steak and merlot ($29 for 8-10 sausages). (29 Binjai Pk)
DON’T FORGET THE SWEETS!
Because you need dessert to round out that holiday meal, obvs.
Chocolate lovers rejoice – SweetSpot at Marina Bay Sands has masterfully crafted cocoa treats. Work your way through the indulgent SweetSpot Signature Christmas Tree, adorned with candied almonds, chocolate stars and toasted coconut flakes for an added zing ($70). Top it off with classic spiced gingerbread men ($10) or a festive fruit cake ($55). (10 Bayfront Ave)
Tired of cake? Opt for a pie from this famed Lower East Side, New York City, institution. We’re nuts for the maple bourbon pecan pie ($64 per kilogramme). It’s ideal for any boozy celebration! Order ahead. (31 Purvis St)
ABC Chef Eran Mayer goes traditional with holiday fruit cakes ($12.80), chocolate log cakes ($45 and up) and signature Gingerbread Men cookies (right; $4.90 each) made with cinnamon and freshly grated ginger.
Pass around the signature Financier & Medeleine, crème biscuits and assorted Petit Gataeux – part of the Henri Charpentier Christmas gift box – after lunch or dinner ($95). Dessert will be a breeze and your guests won’t be able to resist each delicious bite. It makes a perfect present if you’re visiting pals. (9A Dempsey Rd)
30. Marks & Spencer
This British retailer doesn’t skimp on treats! Spoil yourself rotten with cherry liqueurs ($14.90), crunchy all-butter shortbread biscuits ($29.90 including tin), Swiss dark chocolate truffles ($14.90) and Scottish shortbread in a petticoat tails tin ($25.90).
By Hazel Vincent De Paul, The Finder, December 2015