Move over Berlin and London, Singapore might just have the most festive Christmas event of 2016.
Compete with an ice palace, ice-skating rink, Christmas grub and more twinkling lights than you can poke a Santa sack at – this annual festival will get you in the sprit no matter how Grinchy you feel about 2016.
Sprawling over 57,000 square feet at Gardens on the Bay (yes, that’s the epic parklands near the spaceship-hotel-thing Marina Bay Sands), the event kicks off December 1st and wraps January 1st, 2017.
We flew to Singapore for the weekend to soak up the festivities and we left with a belly full of sweet treats and a feeling of pure festive joy. Seriously we could be Will Ferrell’s 'Buddy the Elf' right now.
We started by downing a few tropical punch cocktails at rooftop bar Indo Chine - atop the highest tree installation at Gardens on the Bay.
After watching the sunset, we hit Christmas Wonderland’s artisan Christmas markets. Organisers are very selective when choosing who gets a spot, it’s all very International with vendors only selling organic and bespoke items. Think homemade African chutneys, gourmet Croatian truffle salts flown in from Debrovnic and handmade toys. It’s like Etsy but in real life!
We made ourselves useful at the Dutch stalls – scoffing down caramel stroopwafels and mini pancakes.
From the markets we head over to the Magical Forest of real pine Christmas trees to meet the fat man in red at Santa’s Cottage.
Singapore is known for its tropical heat but that didn’t stop organisers creating an ice palace with a huge skating ring, ice slide and snow field. Seriously we had to make a snow angel!
“We hired a Dutch company to engineer the ice rink and make sure it didn’t melt,” director Sarah Martin explained. “The Dutch know their ice rinks.
“It took one week to build the rink – you have to freeze each layer of water separately.”
Who would have thunk?
Amongst the carnival games, the Hi-5 fun house, sculptures of light, and live music stands the epic Spalliera Castel del Monte – a 240,000 bulb light structure imported from Italy.
You’ll feel like you’re in a Disney Christmas movie when the fake snow gently falls from the top of the castle and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ blares through the fairground.
Oh, and did we mention tickets to the whole shebang are just $4?
So if you don’t feel like battling a 36-hour long haul flight to treat yourself to European Christmas festivities – Singapore should be high on your list for the perfect festive family vacay.