Celebrating Christmas uniquely at Orchard and VivoCity

“I’ve been participating for the past seven years, and this is the first year that I’m just watching. I now know why people would want to keep coming back, because it’s a blessing to be a part of this.”

The above comment, overheard from an audience member at the Celebrate Christmas in Singapore (CCIS) concert on 24 Dec 2015, aptly describes the impact of CCIS as a unique event in Singapore’s Christian landscape. Now into its 13th year (12th in 2015), CCIS celebrates the true meaning of Christmas in a highly visible way at Orchard Road during the week preceding Christmas, with displays, performances, activities and booths.

2015 was the first year that CCIS held its activities at VivoCity in addition to Orchard Road. It also marked the first year that CCIS partnered with Grace Methodist Church to run family bonding activities at VivoCity. A total of 1,184 children – and their families – participated in the activities.

The half-hour programme saw children playing four games that depicted different parts of the Christmas Story: a shooting game to find the Christmas Star; a Lego maze to represent the journey to Bethlehem; a craft activity to make a bookmark that depicts the Nativity scene; and lastly an obstacle course to represent the flight to Egypt, away from King Herod. Each family was then presented with a commemorative family photo.

CCIS celebrations had earlier kicked off on 18 Dec at the Opening Ceremony held at Orchard Road, with guest-of-honour Ms Irene Ng (former MP for Tampines GRC). This was followed by five nights of high-energy performances at two stages in front of Wisma Atria and ION, as well as fun-filled activities run by our partner, Singapore Youth for Christ (SYFC).

Singapore Anglican Community Services also ran a charity booth as part of CCIS’ efforts to give back to the community, where they were able to raise funds and educate the public on their psychiatric and senior services, as well as mental health and wellbeing.

At VivoCity, nightly performances were held at the Amphitheatre on the third floor, and there was a Christmas Story tapestry activity run by SYFC.

CCIS continued to run its annual project My Christmas Wish, giving presents to primary-school children from low-income families. Some of these children are from centres that help the homeless, or the orphaned. Our senior citizen volunteers

organised and distributed 695 gifts to the children, with help from our partner, Toys“R”Us Singapore.

The CCIS Christmas Concert was the culmination of the week-long activities, featuring performances from foreign performing groups. Our guest-of-honour, MP for Mountbatten SMC Mr Lim Biow Chuan, toured the booths at the Plaza with his family, accompanied by the Event Coordinator Mr Han Hai Kwang and Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup, before heading up to the Amphitheatre to enjoy the concert.

Approximately 700 people attended the concert, where they were treated to performances from groups that came from as far as Canada and Brazil, and as near as Malaysia and Singapore. Notable highlights included the Singaporean harp ensemble, led by musicians Michael-David and Zsiporah (above pic) who held a harp training workshop here, and Celebration of Praise, a 50-member group from Indonesia presenting song and dance items that showcased the cultural diversity of their indigenous people groups (pic below). The crowd really enjoyed the finale, the perennial favorite ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah.

CCIS thanks the following organisations and churches, without which running the event would not be possible:

➢ Venue sponsor, Mapletree – VivoCity

➢ Hotel sponsor, Far East Hospitality

➢ Mineral water sponsor, F&N Foods Pte Ltd

➢ The Methodist churches in Singapore, especially Grace Methodist Church, for their enthusiastic participation

➢ Youth volunteers from Singapore Youth for Christ

➢ My Christmas Wish partner, Toys“R”Us (Singapore) Pte Ltd

➢ Singapore Tourism Board, Orchard Road Business Association and other government agencies

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Kjelti Koh is Secretary at Celebrate Christmas in Singapore Ltd, and worships at Charis Methodist Church.