Merry Christmas! (And Cats)

It’s Christmastime in Singapore, which means that the decorations are out in force.

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Fewer than 20% of Singaporeans are Christian, but this is a huge holiday around here. It helps that Singaporeans love shopping, but the popularity of Christmas predates the Singaporean shopping mall. Enthusiasm for Christmas dates back to the British colonizers, which means that people have been celebrating here for nearly 200 years.

While very few residents decorate their houses or apartments with Christmas lights the way they do in the US, you still can’t walk very far without finding evidence of Christmas somewhere. Here’s the tree (fake, of course — real ones don’t survive very well in this heat) outside of our apartment building:

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Our shopping center downstairs also has these out front…

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…but they are unrelated to Christmas. These are called “grand opening flower stands,” and they are sent by well-wishers when a new store or restaurant has a launch. While they’re not related to any holiday, they still very much look like they’re in Christmas spirit.

Orchard Road, Singapore’s biggest and glitziest shopping drag, always puts on a huge Christmas show. Every year the motto is “Christmas on a Great Street”:

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Most of the decorations here are along the lines of what you would see in the US. This year I’ve found the requisite candy canes (with Prescott and our friend Kate, who visited from Switzerland, joining in for Christmas cheer) …

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… and reindeer …

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… and trees and trees galore:

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Some of the trees on Sentosa are neon:

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There are also some slightly more innovative Christmas ideas floating around, like this French horn carriage …

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… and the balloon theme at the Ion shopping center:

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This busker — playing a wonderful old Chinese instrument — was all decked out for the season:

It’s hard to be away from my family and Christmas traditions in December. This year, I missed Christmas at home so much that I bought a tiny artificial tree for my coffee table. It has made me amazingly happy (and a little less homesick).

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In another attempt to combat nostalgia, last night I went to a cat cafe!

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Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa in Boat Quay is a wonderful place where you can sit and have a glass of juice and hope that a rescue cat will jump into your lap. This guy sat with me for a while before relocating to a cooler seat nearby:

IMG_6001I love the bowls of cats:

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This cat, half Maine Coon, was enormous and fluffy and beautiful:

IMG_6003It’s Christmas Eve tonight, and we’ll soon be on a flight to New Zealand! We will arrive in time for dinner on Christmas Day.

A very Merry Christmas to everyone!

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