Deck the halls: Residents in Woodlands and Yio Chu Kang spruce up neighbourhoods for Christmas

Move over, Orchard Road. 

The iconic Christmas light-up in town is facing some competition, as some residents in the heartlands have began ushering in the holidays with rather impressive decorations of their own. 

In Yio Chu Kang, some 400 households gathered in an attempt to spread some Christmas cheer in their neighbourhood with a whole array of sparkly lights, Christmas trees and even a cute lighted-up Santa Claus, reported Shin Min Daily News. 

The elaborate set-up spans across four streets, namely Seletar Green Avenue, Luxus Hill Avenue, Seletar Green View, and Seletar Green Walk.

The cost of this impressive heartland Christmas light-up? Some $50,000. 

Behind the project is a 52-year-old resident surnamed Lee, who shared with the Chinese daily that decorating the streets in this private housing estate has been a tradition there for the past three years. 

Since starting this initiative, Lee has been able to rally the support of other residents to join him in ushering in the holidays. 

“We went from two streets to four streets, with eight groups of residents overseeing the decorations. There’s a person in charge of coordinating the decorations for every street,” explained Lee. 

This year, the residents managed to pool about $50,000 for the decorations and insurance — with each family coughing up less than $200. 

Residents belonging to other religious groups pay only half that amount. 

Electricity for the decorations is supplied by four households in that estate who only have to chip in $20 towards the street decorations.

“I used to live in a condominium and [I] realised that most of my neighbours had their doors shut. I hope that my neighbours here can cultivate the kampung spirit, and I hope this continues among the younger generation,” said Lee. 

‘Reindeers’ in Woodlands

While these Yio Chu Kang residents have their Orchard Road-esque lights, those further up north had a more European-inspired take on their Christmas display. 

At an open field in Woodlands Street 13 sits a wooden cottage that’s lit from within, surrounded by several Christmas trees.

A short walk down, some decorative reindeers can be spotted lying among gift boxes. 

There are also tinsel and fairy lights dangling from the covered walkways, with decorative presents hanging from the pillars. 

Speaking to Channel News Asia, resident and carpenter Tan Koon Tat said that this year’s installation is the biggest one he has done since the outbreak of Covid-19. 

“This year, I saw the restrictions loosen even more so I wanted to do an even bigger house for the children to be happy.” 

Last year, Tan chose to do a smaller installation with reindeers and presents to limit festivities during the pandemic.

Back in 2019, Tan created seven colourful dwarfs alongside seven cabins — inspired by the tale of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. 

He also created a giant snowman to accompany the fairy-tale installation then. 

The dwarfs were made from pieces of scrap wood, padded with foam sheets and then dressed in colourful tops, boots and gloves. 


Although he declined to reveal how much the decorations cost this time round, Tan shared that the rising costs of materials have spurred him to recycle some of the materials he had used in previous installations. 

The cottage, for instance, is a revamped version of an installation he did back in 2017, while the decorative reindeers were recycled from last year. 

When asked by CNA how long he has been doing these Christmas decorations for, Tan replied that he started doing so at least 10 years ago.

His motivation? To rekindle the kampung spirit from his younger days, he told CNA. 

“Now we stay in HDB flats, it’s like all the atmosphere has disappeared. All the festivals there is nothing, only public holidays,” he said.

“So after that I thought why not I do festive decorations so then people will look at it and understand what festival it is, like ‘Oh it’s Christmas, oh it’s National Day’.”

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