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Christmas in the Tropics - Singapore's Six-Week Christmas Celebration

Celebrating Christmas in the Tropics with Light Shows, Shopping, and Parties

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Christmas Light-Up Along Orchard Road, Singapore

Christmas Light-Up Along Orchard Road, Singapore

Image © Shiny Things / Creative Commons

Singapore's "Christmas in the Tropics" is a (mostly) secular festival, celebrated with a highlight on shopping, entertainment, Christmas lights, and Santa showing up in full furs despite the fact that Singapore is smack in the middle of the tropics.

The shopping districts of Orchard Road and Marina Bay explode in a shower of light, while adjoining malls and shopping centers put on extended hours and special deals to attract sightseeing tourists. And when New Year ticks down, countdown parties will pull out all the stops!

Here's a rundown of what you can do during Christmas in Singapore:

Singapore Christmas Light-Ups

Every Christmas in Singapore, Orchard Road and Marina Bay's streets glow with stunning light shows that blaze through the island's prime shopping and entertainment districts. This, combined with the late mall hours and promos put in place during Christmas season, make nighttime shopping in Singapore way more fun.

Orchard Road Christmas Light-Up. The Orchard Road light-up - a spectacular street-length light show - stretches over a mile down from Tanglin to Concorde Hotel. 2013's Orchard Light-Up begins on November 23, and shuts down on January 5, 2013. For hotels in the vicinity of the Orchard Light-Up, read this article: Hotels on or near Orchard Road, Singapore.

Marina Bay Christmas Light-Up. Marina Bay's light-up features 30 decorated "ChariTrees" that glow, illuminating the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade after 7pm. 2013's Marina Bay Light-Up begins on November 15, and shuts down on December 27.

Read about the launch event here: Singapore Christmas "ChariTrees" to Light Up Marina Bay on November 15.. For hotels in the vicinity of the Marina Bay Light-Up, read this article: Marina Bay, Singapore Hotels.

Celebrate Christmas in Singapore Event. From December 17 to 25, a spread of nightly performances will entertain the crowds doing their last-minute Christmas shopping on Orchard Road. Most performances will take place at three stages along Orchard: in front of the Tong Building, near Wisma Atria, and at Mandarin Gallery.

The festivities climax with the Grand Christmas Concert on the occasion of CCIS' 10th Anniversary on December 25. Visit the Celebrate Christmas in Singapore - Official Site for more details.

Tourist Shopping Privileges and Promotions in Singapore

Shopping is the central activity for Christmas in Singapore. Outside of the Great Singapore Sale, the promotions and the freebies offered by Singapore's shopping centers are some of the lowest yet, designed to hitchhike on the Christmas spirit and get Christmas bystanders come in and buy, buy, buy.

The tax-free shopping in Singapore benefits tourists who come to spend Christmas in town; they can redeem the tax they pay on their shopping as soon as they leave the country. (Do your research with this article: Gift ideas and shopping tips for the holidays)

Global Blue Promotion. From November 23 to January 5, tourists who request a tax refund on their Singapore shopping purchases get a chance to win a return trip to Singapore. To qualify, you'll need to make a minimum total purchase of SGD 100 using your MasterCard, or SGD 200 using any other payment mode, then use the Global Blue eTRS ticket to claim your tax refund. The grand prize includes the round-trip economy-class ticket and two nights' stay at the Marina Mandarin Singapore. More info here: official site.

  • More information: Continue to this article on Singapore Christmas Promotions for details on each promo, participating malls, restrictions, links to the official sites, and a growing list of other promotions.

Christmas and New Year Countdown Parties

Singapore holds a number of parties to ring in the new year, one at Marina Bay and the Esplanade waterfront, and two others to be thrown at Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island.

ZoukOut 2013.Singapore's longest-running and most-awaited music dance festival kicks off on Siloso Beach, Sentosa, on December 13 and 14, uniting partygoers in a sea of music, dance and good vibes.

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown. Singapore's foremost New Year party happens at Marina Bay on the evening of December 31, with fireworks and performances bursting forth against a highly-modern backdrop. To mark the countdown, celebration, a Wishing Spheres visual art installation will pour into Marina Bay. Singaporeans write their wishes for the New Year onto 20,000 giant "wishing spheres", and the spheres will be set afloat on December 31.

Singapore Sentosa Countdown. At Siloso Beach on Sentosa, a far more raucous party will ring in the New Year. Stilt-walkers, dancers and fire-eaters will amplify the excitement launched by the fireworks. And they're bringing back the foam pool! The party starts on December 31, 6pm at Sentosa Siloso Beach.

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