Celebrating Christmas the Singaporean way
Each country has its own unique traditions when it comes to celebrating Christmas – Singapore, being a hotpot for a multitude of races and religions, we have certainly developed some festive rituals that are Uniquely Singapore!
Tis' the season to be shopping
While a number of us only start buying gifts at the very last minute, many Singaporeans actually have a habit of shopping for presents as early as June. An acquaintance of mine proudly remarked over Twitter in mid-October that his Christmas shopping was complete! This early accomplishment was a combined effort from his recent travels and a few apt shopping trips during the Great Singapore Sale in June and July. While this may sound very much like "kiasuism" at work, taking in consideration the busy schedules that most of us keep, it is not difficult to see why such a practice has taken root in our society. With deadlines at work, the required preparation for our children's new school year, and social events to plan for in the coming year-end festivities, it makes sense to start the shopping early. Not only do you get to avoid the last minute crowds, you also get ample time to carefully plan your purchases (as well as your finances) to ensure that your gifts are perfectly catered for their intended receivers. Aside from shopping for the important people in your life, Christmas is also a time when most of us indulge in some retail therapy for ourselves. After all, few locals will pass on a good sale and the ones in December are touted as each year's best, with deep discounts and attractive promotions on a wide array of merchandise. What else would you wear to those parties on Christmas and New Year's Eve? And while you're at it, might as well get those matching shoes and bags too!
The Christmas lights of Orchard Road
It has become a family affair to gather young and old for a walk down the beautifully decorated Orchard Road that is transformed into a themed magical land of festive cheer each year. This annual light-up is a 27-year-old tradition, attracting locals and tourists alike to join the celebrations and soak up the holiday spirit. Photo taking seems almost mandatory, with cameras aplenty, adding to the sparkle of the brightly decorated road. Be entertained by buskers and carolers as you stroll down the popular shopping belt, adding to the Christmas spirit that the decorative lights bring. Shopping malls along the popular shopping belt also put on their best Christmas decorations in line with the Orchard Road light-up in bid to win the title of "Best Dressed Shopping Mall" of the season. So bring the kids and get some exercise while enjoying the beauty that Christmas on Orchard road has to offer!
Singaporeans are known for their love of food, and Christmas just isn't complete without a sumptuous festive feast of turkey, honey baked ham, roast beef and the array of delightful desserts. While the old tradition is that families would get together on Christmas Eve to prepare and enjoy the festive meal together, locals enjoy it in a different way – in restaurants and as early as November! Most restaurants offer a celebratory fare in a range of prices via a la carte or buffet styles, with the buffets in hotel restaurants being the most popular option where families choose to partake in this tradition. And given the cosmopolitan nature of our society, it is probably the most convenient way to have a festive meal without the hassle of preparing it at home. The typical family nucleus is small here, and few can finish a whole turkey, let alone with other delicacies, so it is common logic to spend a little more on eating out instead of slogging in the kitchen.
With the Christmas public holiday happening during the school holiday season, many families with school-going children take the opportunity to take a break and go on vacation. It also allows parents to save on applying leave from work, allowing them to use their leave forx more urgent matters when necessary. While this means that they will miss the chance to celebrate the festivities with their friends and family, it provides parents with a much-needed break away from work and a chance for the family to bond. Many families also make this a yearly habit as a learning experience for the children, by exposing them to the different sights that foreign lands have to offer.