Christmas in Singapore
Where to enjoy the festivities
What we say:
The people of Singapore must be confident that Santa’s bringing them something good, because they really get in the Christmas spirit. Here’s where to go for turkey dinners, Christmas trees, caroling, church services and – of course – shopping for presents.
Since you’d have to be crazy to cook a turkey at home in the Singapore heat, most hotel restaurants offer buffets featuring all your traditional Christmas favourites.
The five-star Raffles Hotel does one of the best festive feasts with roasted turkey, chestnut stuffing, glazed ham, gingerbread ice cream, log cake and loads more. You can view the multi-page menu here. The Christmas buffet is available from December 11 to 22 for lunch or dinner and costs S$88 for adults and S$44 for children. On Christmas eve and Christmas day the buffet is a whopping S$228 but includes all the champagne you can drink and entertainment courtesy of a choir of Christmas carollers. Reservations are a must.
For a Christmas meal in Singapore on a backpacker’s budget, head to Botak Jones American Food hawker stalls which are offering a festive meal of deep-fried turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, cheesy potatoes and sweet corn for S$15.30 from December 5 until January 2, 3013. There are multiple locations, but the most convenient is at the Orchard Youth Park near Somerset MRT.
To add some spice to your Christmas, Violet Oon’s Kitchen is offering a Christmas brunch buffet with devil’s curry, buah keluak ayam (stewed chicken with keluak nuts), ngoh hiang (spicy sausage roll), kueh bengka (tapioca cake) and other Peranakan specialties. The buffet is available on December 25 from 06:00 to 15:00 and costs S$56 for adults and S$20 for children.
The other Christmas tradition in Singapore is to go down to Orchard Road, admire the decorations and shop for Christmas presents. This two-kilometre shopping street has been lit up since the end of November and each mall tries to outdo the next by having the most extravagant Christmas tree. As the tropical climate is a death sentence to conifers, they’re usually made entirely from ornaments, ribbons and even teddy bears.
The decorations are such a spectacle that you can go on an “Orchard Road Light Up” bus tours at 19:00 each night and at 20:30 on Fridays and Saturdays. The price is S$29.90 for adults and S$22.90 for children, but you can appreciate the fake snowmen and reindeer just as well on foot.
From December 18 to 25 Christmas carollers will be roaming Orchard Road spreading Christmas cheer. They’ll all come together on December 23 and 24 from 19:00–21:00 for a mass carolling event in front of Ion Mall, which kind of looks like a Christmas ornament itself. On Christmas day, Orchard Road will be partly shut to traffic for a spectacular Christmas concert. A full schedule of Orchard Road events can be found at here.
If you’re looking to celebrate the spiritual side of Christmas rather than the commercial one, most churches will be offering Christmas services. In central Singapore, St Andrew’s Cathedral will have Christmas Eve midnight mass at 21:00 and Christmas Day service with holy communion at 08:00 and 09:00 in English and at 09:30 in Mandarin. Catholic St Joseph’s Church will have Christmas Eve carolling at 20:30 followed by midnight mass and Christmas Day services at 09:00.
Raffles Hotel: 1 Beach Rd, T: (65) 6412 1007 for Christmas dining reservations
Botak Jones: multiple locations, but 112 Somerset Road (in the Orchard Youth Park) is the most convenient, 11:00–01:00 daily, T: (65) 6735 0225
Violet Oon’s Kitchen: 881 Bukit Timah Rd, T: (65) 6468 5430
St Andrew’s Cathedral: 11 St Andrew’s Rd, www.livingstreams.org.sg
St Joseph’s Church: 143 Victoria St, www.catholic.org.sg