To us, meeting Santa is essentially queueing for ages in the heat for a quick chat with a nice bloke called Steve in a cotton wool beard. But to the kids, hanging out in Saint Nick’s workshop in the run up to Christmas is a big deal. So to give you a hand when it comes to tracking the old chap down, here’s a quick guide to grottos around Singapore in the run up to December 25th 2014. (Psst…! Want to send Saint Nick a letter? Head here. Plus for all other Christmas related articles – trees, decorations, caroling and more! – head here).
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
With a massive ice skating rink in the middle of this huge, oh-so-posh shopping mall, it makes sense for MBS to orchestrate a Christmas extravaganza for the fine citizens of Singapore. Father Christmas himself will be set up in an impressive Santa’s Wonderland on the skating rink, which will be free to all (and you don’t have to tackle the ice to get inside!). Spend more than $50 at The Shoppes (not all that difficult) and you’ll get a free voucher for a professional snap with the big beardy man. To add to the buzz, carollers, jazz musicians and other Christmas characters will roam the shopping centre, spreading the festive love.
Santa’s Wonderland (free for all visitors): 1-25 December, Mon-Fri (5-9pm), Sat & Sun (12-4pm and 5-9pm)
Santa’s Workshop at Tanglin Mall
If you’ve checked out our top spots for twinkly Christmas lights or guide to finding snow in Singapore, you’ll know that Tanglin Mall is a firm favourite among expats for festive fun with kids. As well as their big ol’ display out front, a very special Santa’s Workshop will be at play from 21 November. This grotto specialises in professional photography, with little ones enjoying a magical photo shoot with Santa to share with friends and family. The snaps are printed instantly, plus they can be whipped up into Christmas cards to send to loved ones back home (or you can buy the digital images and make your own!). See the package options here.
Santa’s Workshop, Level 2 (near the information counter), Tanglin Mall, 21 November – 23 December 2014, 11am – 7pm, plus 24 December 11am – 3pm. No reservations required.
Santa at Snow City
If a snow park isn’t festive enough for you, Santa and his pals will be bumbling around this winter wonderland and meeting children for fun photos while they sledge in the snow. Set in Jurong East, Snow City is hosting a few Christmassy treats – from snow sculptures and blizzards to songs and performances.
Meet and greet Santa at 3pm every weekend (plus 25 December), 21 Jurong Town Hall Road, 6560 2306
Merry Fishmas at S.E.A Aquarium
For a Santa spotting with a difference, head to the glorious S.E.A Aquarium on Sentosa for their Merry Fishmas activities. Rather than hanging out in his grotto, Father Christmas will be taking a dip with the marine life in full costume – what a guy. He’ll be joined in the tank with his merry little elves too – so make sure you’ve got those selfie sticks on hand! S.E.A will also be hosting The Great Christmas Trail, where all children will be able to hunt down nine underwater presents and learn about schooling fish along the way.
S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa, 17 November 2014 – 4 January 2015. Santa will appear from 11am – 11.30am Shipwreck Habitat and 2pm – 2.30pm Open Ocean Habitat every day. Kids can take part in The Great Christmas Trail at any time.
Father Christmas on Sentosa
From November 15 2014, an exciting Christmas zone will pop up on Sentosa, with three main areas called Candyland, Toyland and Christmas Cheers. In Alice in Wonderland-style, children will feel tiny as they play among a cluster of colorful, festive inflatables that are up to eight metres tall. Where will Santa be hanging out for photo opportunities? He’ll be lepaking around Sentosa’s huge Merlion and waiting for your selfie, of course.
Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa, November 15 – December 31 2014
Christmas at Chillax Market
Christmas is hitting Chillax Market in serious style, with heaps of gifts, decorations and seasonal treats for the whole family to get stuck into. During one special shopping day – Sunday 14 December – Santa will arrive to greet little ones, snap selfies with customers and generally spread a spot of festive cheer.
Surprise appearances throughout the day (9am – 7pm), The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, #03-07
Christmas at Clarke Quay
If you want to binge on Santas – or dress up as the big man yourself – Clarke Quay will be hosting SantaCon 2014 on 12 and 13 December. Yup, as the sun goes down, hundreds of Santas and Santarinas will emerge and hit the riverside nightspot for one hell of a street party. If you’ve got little ones, take them along for some cracking snaps in the early evening. And if you haven’t, prepare to dance your beard off over a few discounted bevvies. Can’t make Santacon 2014? Roving Christmas characters will also be hanging out in Clarke Quay every Friday and Saturdays from 8pm – 10pm during December. There will also be fireworks on the river on 14, 28 November and 12 December.
Christmas at Clarke Quay, 3 River Valley Road, December 1 – 24
This glorious event does exactly what it says on the tin – a bunch of Santas… running around. The Santa Run For Wishes is technically a race, but it’s all for fun and for the whole family, with proceeds going to Singapore’s Make a Wish Foundation. Race categories are 2.2km and 5km, with kids invited to take part along with mum and dad. Head along dressed as Santa – or perhaps an elf, angel, reindeer or turkey. There will be best dressed prizes, plus a whole Christmas carnival to get stuck into, with heaps of stalls, games and grub to enjoy.
The Promontory@Marina Bay, 29 November 2014, 4pm – 10pm. Runners gain free entry to the carnival; $10 per person for the general public
Jet-Setting Christmas at Changi Airport
This year, Changi Airport will host a huge festive carnival with Disney’s Mickey Mouse and his pals. In Terminal 3 (departure hall), there’s a three-storey, interactive fairytale castle, with a moving train experience that takes visitors through Germany’s idyllic countryside. There will be daily Christmas shows – think twinkly lights and engaging songs – plus there will even be snow within the wintery extravaganza. Also in Terminal 3, there will be a Mickey Mouse Club House Bouncy Playground with slides, Velcro walls and ball pits (minimum $30 spend in Changi for free entry). Elsewhere, roving festive characters will be giving out pressies and posing for snaps (note that there’s no Father Christmas, but Mickey will make up for it!).
Changi Terminal 3, 14th November 2014 – 5th January 2015. Entry to the castle and shows are free to all. Show time on weekdays: 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Show time on weekends, Public Holidays and Eve of Public Holidays: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. Playground 12pm – 10pm daily – free access with $30 minimum spend in Changi.