Guide to Christmas in Singapore: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Orchard Road Christmas Lightup, Singapore

Singapore Tourism Board/photographed by Andrew Tan

In Singapore, Christmas is a mostly secular affair. Celebrated around shopping, entertainment, and spectacular Christmas lights, even Santa doesn't mind showing up in his full furs despite Singapore's famously humid weather.

If you have a hankering for celebrating the holidays in the tropics, here's a rundown of what you can do during Christmas in Singapore. From the the shopping districts of Orchard Road and the light spectacles at Marina Bay, Singapore pulls out all the stops and offers plenty of things to do for the holidays.

Christmas tree on Orchard Road, Singapore
 Image courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board

See the Lights on Orchard Road

Every Christmas in Singapore, Orchard Road'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 promotions put in place during Christmas season, make nighttime shopping in Singapore way more fun.

The Orchard Road Light-Up, a spectacular street-length light show that stretches about two miles down from Tanglin Mall to Plaza Singapura. Fortunately for tourists, there are a number of great hotels on or near Orchard Road where guests can stay among the Christmas lights.

To see as many light-ups as possible during your trip, you can also opt to take a guided bus tour aboard a two-decker bus operated by Duck & HiPPO Tours, which takes guests through some of Singapore's most popular lighting displays.

Visit the Christmas Village

Another great destination for some holiday light-ups this time of year is the Great Christmas Village, which will be set up in front of Shaw House Urban Plaza from November 23 to December 26. Featuring a collection of holiday events and activities throughout the season, this winter village has something for all ages including amusement rides, a two-level carousel, and visits from Santa Claus at the Santa House. Twenty-five different food vendors will also be on-site at the village's dining area.

Orchard Road shopping at Christmas
Marty Windle / Getty Images

Shop the Holiday Sales

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 in the region. The tax-free shopping in Singapore also 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.

The ION Orchard Shopping Mall on Orchard Road is a great place for holiday deals, especially at pop-up stores on Level 1 and Basement 4 and during the Europe Fair at B4 ION Station. Other great Singapore Christmas promotions include Christmas rewards at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, the Christmas Wonderland in Gardens by the Bay, and MasterCard promotions at Paragon, Centrepoint, Forum The Shopping Mall, and Takashimaya SC.

Singapore Fireworks
seng chye teo / Getty Images

Bring in the New Year With a Bang

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

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is Singapore's foremost New Year party and happens at Marina Bay on the evening of December 31, with fireworks and performances bursting forth against a highly-modernized 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 thousands of giant "wishing spheres", and the spheres are set afloat on December 31.

At Siloso Beach on Sentosa, an island resort, a far more raucous party will ring in the New Year. At the Singapore Sentosa Countdown stilt-walkers, dancers, and fire-eaters will amplify the excitement launched by the fireworks.

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