Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas #3: Xiao Ming (Chinese Compo) T-Shirt

The perfect gift for those who struggled with CL2 essays: A t-shirt with pre-filled first sentence.

Xiao Ming T-Shirt

Get them while stocks last at A Naiise Christmas Pop-Up Store: 72-74 Dunlop Street
Singapore

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas #2: A Great Singapore Novel

Marina Bay Sins – If you know Neil Humphreys’ writing, you’d know that one or two of the things in the book probably happened for real.

OK, this one’s too easy – you just point your friends to the link on iTunes to download the latest from Singapore’s best-selling novelist.

Really good if you’re looking to send someone living overseas something for Christmas, and especially when you’re looking for something really Singaporean.

Download it here.
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Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas #1: Ang Ku Kueh

The colors make you want to sing Christmas songs, only you can’t if you stuff one of these in your mouth. They are by far the best roasted peanut filled Ang Ku Kuehs ever. Buy a dozen and put them in a nice box for the Christmas parties you’ve been invited to at the last minute.

Price: $0.80 each

Other flavours available (but not in Christmassy colors)

Poh Cheu Handmade Soon Kueh & Ang Ku Kueh

127 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-230 Singapore 150127

It’s Chap Goh Meh, but here’s a Christmas story

While workshopping Kumar’s show last week, Selena Tan brought up this gem of information on how the Japanese celebrate Christmas. I would’ve teased Naomi for not knowing this Japanese tradition but a) she doesn’t take too kindly to criticism about her lack of Japanese knowledge, b) it is a rather offbeat kind of tradition.

Before 1974, westerners in Japan who happened to be around during Christmas found it difficult to celebrate Christmas because turkeys were apparently hard to find in the shops (or elsewhere, for that matter), and so the closest thing a foreigner could pass off as a Christmas turkey dinner was a chicken dinner, and chicken dinners were easy to find at the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets around the country.

So, in 1974 a clever marketing fella at KFC decided to sell the first KFC Christmas meal, consisting of fried chicken and a glass of wine. It was immensely popular, and for some reason, Japanese locals began to think that this was a bona fide tradition, and as the years went by, began passing it down to younger generations.

These days, KFC Christmas meals are ordered several months in advance, and if you think about it, Colonel Sanders could pass off as Santa Claus.

If you think that’s weird, @bubblevicious and @tetanus point out that the annual Chingay Parade has its tradition/roots in the government trying to appease the pyromanic masses’ discontent at the firecracker ban in 1973.

Shanghai winter wonderland

This afternoon, Shanghai threw us a welcome blanket of the heaviest snowfall I’ve seen in years.

Much as we’d like to step back outside and play in the mush, Kai’s fast asleep on my chest, and Naomi’s ‘resting her eyes’ in the bedroom.

And probably for the first time since Naomi’s brother’s passing, this town feels like a happy place.

Useful Christmas Gifts #6: Nespresso Christmas Variations

If you wanted to buy someone a Nespresso machine (wah, so generous, can I be your friend?), but they already have one, you could, this festive season, buy them a couple of tubes of the limited edition Christmas variations. This is especially good if you’re always bumming Nespresso off your friends when they invite you over, and you feel a bit guilty for depleting their stock.

There’s vanilla, almond and caramel. If you’re not already a Nespresso Club member, you can head down to their boutiques at Ion Orchard and Takashimaya to try them and buy them.

Meantime, before you leave your computer to do so, check out the entertaining and niftily animated game again.

Useful Christmas Gifts #5: Walking With Dinosaurs

When he heard there was a show called Walking With Dinosaurs, a wiseacre I know said, “Hey, isn’t that when you join the entourage of a PAP MP election walkabout?”

I didn’t have much high hopes for it to be an entertainment highlight of our weekend either, but if you were to have seen our baby boy’s delight in watching what he calls “Didotaur” in action, you might just feel that the price of admission is worth it. (Tickets range from $38 – $148 for this 100min show).

Kai even sat in his seat through intermission, chanting, “Didotaur” for the whole 15 minutes. We had to go and buy him a Didotaur soft toy later because he kept signing (we taught him sign) for “more” after we left the arena.

So if you know of anyone with kids who don’t know what to do this weekend, buy them tickets.

Useful Christmas Gifts #4: Something From Apple

Let’s face it. You’re gonna be either buying or considering buying an Apple product this Christmas, either for yourself or for someone else. Epicentre, the premium Apple reseller, is making it more fun with an in-house personal shopper who’s gonna help you buy more stuff and then you’ll go home and curse him later.

Santa/Personal Shopper will be demonstrating how to use iPhoto to make photo books and other stuff every weekend from now till December 24th. There’s cookies to be had too. Just bring your own glass of milk.

Naomi, Kai and I are unabashedly Apple people at home, with a couple of iPhone4, iPad, iMac and MacBook Pros between the three of us.

And I’m quite sure there are parents of toddlers like ours who’ve learned new tricks on their Apple products from their kids. Before Kai got his hands on our phones, we didn’t know we could operate the iPod feature with the phone still password locked.

He hasn’t figured out our passwords yet, but he’s been treating us to his favourite songs on our phones and iPads in between playing Angry Birds.