Decking halls with Christmas cheer


Shoppers finding a good spot for a photo opportunity at Gurney Paragon Mall

CHRISTMAS magic pervades throughout Penang’s shopping centres and hotels, where sparkling festive decorations radiate joy and cheer.

The elaborate backdrops -- some traditional, others fantastical -- make perfect selfie opportunities for visitors.

Gurney Paragon Mall’s The Gift of Joy celebrations feature a cuddly 3m-tall teddy bear and a 7m-high gift box that fascinates all at its Atrium.

Pedestrians passing by the snowman and snowflakes festive display in front of GAMA Supermarket and Departmental Store.
Pedestrians passing by the snowman and snowflakes festive display in front of Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store

‘Bursting’ out of the open gift box are 520 smaller presents and 150 teddy bears, suspended in the air and seemingly flying out of the giant box. Some are piled up in a 4.88m stack at the Galleria.

There are also several ‘Instagrammable Boxes’ specially made for selfies. Shoppers can pose in one filled with neon, or another with a homely fireplace set up.

The gift box theme complemented the mall’s Grant-A-Wish Campaign, in which staff of parent entity Hunza Properties Bhd bought presents for underprivileged kids from the Children Protection Society and Ruyi Home.

Children mingling with Lawrance Ayerru in Santa Claus attire and Saskia Von Wehdran as Santarina (behind) at Queensbay Mall’s Christmas Fairy Land. (Right) Pedestrians passing by the snowman and snowflakes festive display in front of Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store.
Children mingling with Lawrance Ayerru in Santa Claus attire and Saskia Von Wehdran as Santarina (behind) at Queensbay Mall’s Christmas Fairy Land.

The 44 youngsters were overjoyed to receive things like clothes, remote-controlled toy cars, bicycles, stationery and sports gear last month.

Gurney Paragon Mall executive director Fong Yin Sian commended her staff for putting smiles on the children’s faces.

Fione Ooi, 36, taking a selfie with her three-year-old son Zhe against the Christmas sign with giant ornaments at Straits Quay Retail Marina.
Fione Ooi, 36, taking a selfie with her three-year-old son Zhe against the Christmas sign with giant ornaments at Straits Quay Retail Marina.

“Economically disadvantaged children feel their status more than ever at special times like Christmas. These presents bring them a little bit of joy,” she said.

Over at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, the festivities are getting spiced up with a one-of-a-kind 2.2m-tall Spice Christmas Tree.

It took kitchen artist Syaprudin Supali two weeks to complete the multi-tiered display consisting of 8,757 pieces of star anise and 2,729 cinnamon sticks.

Hotel Equatorial Penang staff (from right) Abdul Karim Majid, Muhammad Aliff Shukeri and Shamsul Buqari Shaari arranging some of the 3,000 recycled plastic bottles on the 7m Christmas tree.
Hotel Equatorial Penang staff (from right) Abdul Karim Majid, Muhammad Aliff Shukeri and Shamsul Buqari Shaari arranging some of the 3,000 recycled plastic bottles on the 7m Christmas tree.

Resort director of communication Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman said: “The tree is unlike any other and lends sweet aromas to the holidays.”

Next to the tree, outside Spice Market Cafe, is a selfie corner with a snowman and Santa Claus using a trishaw. Feel free to clamber up for photos.

A mistletoe blooms against classic Christmas colours on G Hotel Gurney’s G sign along Gurney Drive.
A mistletoe blooms against classic Christmas colours on G Hotel Gurney’s G sign along Gurney Drive.

“The trishaw is iconic to Penang. We want to give foreign guests a taste of the island and something different for Christmas,” Suleiman added.

Hotel Equatorial Penang took the eco-friendly route, with a 7m Christmas tree made from over 3,000 plastic mineral water bottles, and a snowman made with 500 paper cups.

“Other decorative features like wreaths were also handmade using only recyclable materials,” assistant marketing communications manager Alyssa Abdul highlighted.

The lobby display is completed by a life-sized gingerbread house offering festive goodies, which has been a common feature for many years.

/Picby:CHAN BOON KAI/The Star/12 December 2018.
E&O Hotel staff touching up the Christmas tree at its Heritage Wing lobby.

Outside Gama Supermarket and Departmental Store, a snowman stands defiant against the tropical heat to bring snowy winter cheers to passing motorists. At night, it comes to life with lights.

“Being in a prime area in the heart of town, our festive displays are always eye-catching,” senior marketing manager Leong Hau Soon said of their Live, Love, Celebrate decorations.

At Queensbay Mall’s Central Atrium, shoppers found themselves transported to an Enchanted Realm of fairy tales come to life.

Huge toadstools and flowers surround a pixie cottage and chamber of mirrors, offering countless angles for treasured selfies.

The larger-than-life scene gets even more magical with eagerly-anticipated snow showers blanketing everything in a frosting of white.

Shoppers at Sunshine Square taking a closer look at the display of snowmen, gift boxes and a Christmas tree.
Shoppers at Sunshine Square taking a closer look at the display of snowmen, gift boxes and a Christmas tree.

Straits Quay Retail Marina focused on The Joy of Giving, hosting or sponsoring the venue for numerous charity events and fundraisers throughout November and December.

“Instead of traditional Christmas trees, our display this year revolves around ball ornaments, as their spherical shape represents a positive message of harmony, unity and love.

“There are 10 red and green ball ornaments between 0.9m and 2.1m in diameter at our Straits Court,” said Wong Siew Hui, senior manager of projects and property investments for parent company Eastern and Oriental (E&O) Bhd.

Meanwhile, E&O Hotel continues the tradition with a 6m-tall Christmas tree at its Heritage Wing lobby in familiar colours.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa staff showing off the Christmas tree made of star anise spices and cinnamon sticks.

Red and gold are the predominant hues of baubles, ribbons and other ornaments, with thousands of twinkling lights completing the display.

The Christmas trees in G Hotel Gurney and Kelawai feature shades of green and red, symbolising peace and love.

On the former’s large G sign along Gurney Drive, both colours come together with a mistletoe to spread good tidings to motorists.

At Sunshine Square, classic Christmas embellishments like glowing conifers, snowmen and presents adorn the departmental store levels, bringing cheer to those doing their shopping.

Sister store Sunshine Farlim’s main entrance is made to look like a circus tent, whilst inside, a carnival theme is created with hung banners.

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