Singapore's "Christmas in the Tropics" simply isn't complete without light-ups along selected thoroughfares. From November to the first week of the New Year, Orchard Road and Harbourfront will be lit up with stunning electric light displays that illuminate Singapore's prime shopping districts.
To accompany the light and sound show, malls along these areas compete to put on the finest Christmas decorations and sell the most attractive sales promotions to draw in the crowds. Most malls keep their doors open late into the night to sweeten the deal.
Going shopping in Singapore can be quite overwhelming, so come prepared - read these articles about Gift ideas and shopping tips for the holidays, Christmas Gift Tips and Seven Tips to Help You Stop Making Holiday Shopping Mistakes.
Orchard Road Christmas Light-Up
"Christmas on A Great Street", the 29th consecutive annual festive light-up on Orchard Road, illuminates Singapore's main shopping drag. This year's light-up is composed of three zones, each with its own motif: Tree for Joy at Tanglin zone, Heart for Love at Orchard zone, and Dove for Peace at the Somerset zone.
Along each of the three zones, giant ornaments decorated with the zone's specific signature motif - accompanied by strings of three-meter long Christmas baubles - will be suspended from Orchard Road's many trees, coming alive at night with clusters of glittering fairy lights.
The main centerpiece of the light-up can be found crossing Tang Plaza and ION Orchard - a 14-meter Main Arch (pictured above) designed to resemble the outline of a giant snow globe. The arch also features lit ornaments that seem to be floating from within.
The sidewalks are littered with numerous photo-ops, including rows of Christmas trees and armies of nutcracker toy soldiers. A three-meter-tall walk-in kaleidoscope stands along the walkway between Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City. Visitors become part of the psychedelic patterns inside the giant kaleidoscope, as they walk within.
Throughout the light-up, limited-edition merchandise modeled after the light-up's motifs and themes can be purchased at the Christmas Gift Shops located in front of Tang Plaza and Ngee Ann City. Local school LASALLE College of the Arts has also pitched in to create exclusive designs for tote bags and t-shirts.
2012's Orchard Light-Up lasts from November 17 till January 6, 2013. The area is most accessible via MRT; disembark at the Orchard MRT Station (NS22). For hotels in the vicinity of the Orchard Light-Up, read this article: Hotels on or near Orchard Road, Singapore.
Celebrate Christmas in Singapore Event
From December 17 to 23, the Spirit of Christmas blazes forth on Orchard Road through the Celebrate Christmas in Singapore (CCIS) event - a series of Christmas performances along Orchard Road at 7pm.
On the evenings of December 23 and 24, about 500 carollers from different churches around Singapore and the region will serenade passersby on Orchard Road in the biggest Mass Carolling on Orchard Road organised by ORBA to date. Catch the carolers at ION2 between 7:30pm and 8:45pm.
From 6pm on December 25, visitors can watch vibrantly decorated Christmas floats, a celebrity DJ appearance and a fashion show put up by cancer survivors, all at the Grand Christmas Day Concert. Visit the Celebrate Christmas in Singapore - Official Site for more details.
Beginning on November 24, the Harbourfront and Sentosa district will be bathed in light from the precinct-wide lightup, beginning with a Christmas village at the Jewel Box; proceeding to a Playmobil™-themed Christmas tree, Santa and reindeers at Sentosa; to Christmas decorations within Resorts World Sentosa's Universal Studios Singapore; circling back to HarbourFront Centre's Royal Christmas Adventure backdrop and VivoCity's Illuminate!.
Illuminate! is a 30-minute musical show, with a series of dances, musical acts, and light-inspired specialty acts, all unfolding at Vivocity's level 3 Amphitheatre between December 7 and 14 (except December 10) at 8pm.
For more information on Christmas in the Tropics, call the Singapore Tourism Board's Touristline at 1800 736 2000 (toll-free in Singapore) or +65 6736 2000 (from overseas). The line is open from 8am to 7pm daily, Singapore Time. You can also check out the Singapore Tourism Board website here: www.yoursingapore.com.