Be prepared for a thrilling end to the year as Singapore’s much-loved “Christmas in the Tropics” (CIT) returns from Nov 2012 to 6 Jan 2013. Locals and visitors alike will be able to look forward to perennial favourites such as the annual Christmas light-ups and a myriad of lifestyle activities and retail promotions, as well as exciting new shows and event highlights to celebrate the yuletide season in style.
The Singapore Christmas festive season continues to gain momentum and popularity, with 6.57 million people visiting both Orchard Road and Marina Bay during CIT 2011, an increase from 6.06 million in 2010. The festive celebrations have also gained a measure of international recognition, with Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping strip, being awarded the Merit Award for Events and Programming by the International Downtown Association for its Christmas decorations in 2011.
“Over the years, Christmas in the Tropics has become a much anticipated year-end tradition for both locals and visitors in the region. This year, the Orchard Road, Sentosa HarbourFront and Marina Bay precincts will each feature distinctive Christmas programmes, enabling everyone to experience how Singapore, as a compelling lifestyle city, ushers in the festive spirit in our own special way “, said Ms Tan Yen Nee, Deputy Director, Enrichment and Lifestyle Precincts Development at the Singapore Tourism Board.
The Christmas celebrations at the precincts, led by their respective stakeholders and precinct associations, have distinct themes that appeal to diverse audiences while also building on the precincts’ individual identities.
Back for the 29th year, Orchard Road’s Christmas light-up, Christmas on A Great Street, centres on yuletide folklore and tradition, complete with motifs of hearts, doves, Christmas trees and nutcracker soldiers.
Led by Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) together with main sponsor Hitachi and official card Visa, the light-up will span three zones and have different motifs representing the light-up theme’s three main messages; the Tree for Joy in the Tanglin zone, the Heart for Love at Orchard, and Dove for Peace at Somerset.
“Visitors will once again be immersed in the festivity of Christmas in the tropics as Orchard Road lights up in dazzling splendour. This year, they can also look forward to bringing home a souvenir of their experience with our limited edition Christmas-themed merchandise that will be sold along Orchard Road. Together with shopping rewards and street performances, Orchard Road Business Association will once again present the multi-faceted charms of Christmas on A Great Street,” says Mrs May Sng, Chairman of ORBA.
For the first time, visitors can bring home Christmas souvenirs that capture the Orchard Road Christmas experience. Designed to complement the street décor theme, these keepsakes range from key-chains to mugs, as well as tote bags and t-shirts and are specially designed by students from LASALLE College of the Arts. The limited-edition merchandise will be sold at the Gift Shops located in front of Tang Plaza and Ngee Ann City.
Orchard Road’s transformation into a magical wonderland will start on 17 November with the Light-Up Ceremony at ION2 (ION Orchard’s outdoor atrium). The ceremony also marks the start of Community Chest’s annual charity drive, and ORBA will be collaborating with Celebrate Christmas in Singapore and student volunteers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic to hand out candle torchlights to the public during the ceremony. With every candle lit, ORBA will donate S$1 to Community Chest.
Ten malls along the 2.2km shopping strip will also be in their holiday finest as the Best Dressed Building Contest takes place from 17 November to 2 December. Members of the public who vote for their favourite building on Orchard Road’s Facebook fan page will stand a chance to be among 12 lucky voters who will win up to S$1,000 worth of shopping vouchers.
Celebrate Christmas in Singapore (CCIS) also takes place on Orchard Road and Marina Bay from 17 to 25 December this year. Since 2003, CCIS has been relating the story of Christmas through song, dance and theatre. During the ten days of CCIS, spectators can revel every night with musical and drama performances, and participate in fun-filled interactive activities such as the mass wellness and health exercise led by celebrity DJ Dong Fang Billy and a fashion show.
For a heartwarming evening of yuletide melodies, join CCIS on 23 and 24 December as they present Orchard Road’s biggest Mass Carolling event. Held at ION Square from 7.30 pm to 8.45 pm, be mesmerised by the harmony of some 500 carollers from the different churches in Singapore and the region.
Those with a penchant for last minute Christmas shopping will also find more reasons to indulge as five Orchard Road malls, 313@somerset (from 21 to 22 December), ION Orchard, Paragon, TANGS Orchard and The Centrepoint, will be opened till 11pm from 19 to 23 December.
Christmas at the Sentosa HarbourFront precinct also promises to be a dazzling experience with the wide array of Christmas decorations and programmes organised by the HarbourFront Centre, Mount Faber Leisure Group, Sentosa, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and VivoCity. The entire precinct will be set aglow at the flick of a switch at a synchronised light-up taking place on 24 November. From the enchanting Christmas village at the Jewel Box, the charming PLAYMOBIL-themed Christmas tree and life-sized PLAYMOBIL Santa and his reindeers at Sentosa, and Christmas celebrations within RWS’ Universal Studios Singapore, to HarbourFront Centre’s Royal Christmas Adventure backdrop and the visual spectacle of lights over at VivoCity’s Illuminate!, each visit to the precinct promises to be a different and memorable experience.
”We look forward to seeing the Sentosa HarbourFront precinct come alive with lights, spreading the spirit of festive holiday cheer through a mesmerising display of sparkling Christmas decorations for all to enjoy. With a series of exciting events lined up this year in Sentosa Harbourfront, merry-makers can create holiday memories to last for a long time,” said Mr Chang Yeng Cheong, spokesperson for the Sentosa HarbourFront precinct.
Visitors to RWS can expect an exciting line-up of events and offerings in the lead up to the New Year, including the resort’s grand opening celebrations on 7 December, with public performances and spectacular fireworks. RWS will open the world’s largest oceanarium, Marine Life Park, as well as Incanto, an original theatrical magic spectacular featuring top illusionist and three-time Merlin winner Joe Labero.
To commemorate VivoCity’s sixth anniversary, a stunning fireworks display choreographed by German fireworks maestro Markus Katterle will mark the occasion with a dramatic burst of colour on 6 December.
Shoppers will also be able to enjoy extended shopping hours till 11pm, complete with roving entertainers and late night shopping specials from 21 to 23 December.
This year, the members of the Marina Bay Business Association (MBBA) comprising CityLink Mall, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Marina Square, Millenia Walk, Marina Bay Link Mall, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore Flyer, Suntec City Mall and The Fullerton Heritage have come together to offer a shopping promotion that will give away a total of S$50,000 in prizes. From 23 November to 25 December, with a minimum spend of S$80, 10 shoppers may each stand to win at least S$5,000 worth of dining and shopping vouchers, hotel stays and tickets to attractions around the Bay.
“Visitors can truly look forward to discovering the splendour of celebrating the festive season with their nearest and dearest at the beautiful Marina Bay. The malls will be decked out for the season with fabulous festive finds, culinary delights, rewarding spending programmes and an exciting suite of entertaining programmes and customer care services to get everyone in the wonderful spirit,” said Ms Esther Teo, Chairperson for the MBBA Christmas project 2012.
There’s no better way to partake in the festivities than through music and theatre. At the Esplanade, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will usher in the yuletide cheer with the SSO Christmas Concert 2012. Playing on 13 and 14 December, SSO choral director Lim Yau leads the SSO, Singapore Symphony Chorus and Singapore Symphony Children’s Choir in two evenings of festive tunes. The popular Crazy Christmas Revue also takes to the stage from 28 November to 9 December to celebrate movie magic. Singapore’s finest entertainers such as Selena Tan and Adrian Pang, together with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin will bring plenty of laughter and love to the audience.
Over at Marina Bay Sands, the producers of popular musical Annie presents Santa Claus the Musical, a delightful Christmas adventure set to take place at the Grand Theatre from 13 December 2012 to 6 January 2013. The heartwarming musical depicts the efforts of Santa Claus and his chief elf as they try to stop the evil Ice Queen from cancelling Christmas, and will feature an all-British cast backed by a live orchestra, popular festive tunes, fabulous sets, and special effects.