It started with Philip Sobrielo hanging a handful of Christmas lights and streamers along his corridor. Then over the years, the Clementi resident spruced up his neighbourhood more extensively, with Santa Claus, reindeers and Christmas trees.

“I love Christmas,” the 41-year-old smiles. “It’s a season for spreading joy, and that’s what I hope to do with the decorations.”

Clementi resident Philip decorates his neighbourhood for the holidays

Christmas Wonderland in Clementi

For the past 10 years, Philip has turned the common corridor in front of his childhood home into a Christmas Wonderland. Each year’s handmade decorations would feature a different theme. This Christmas, Philip’s designs will feature the colours pink and white. “We featured the colour red last year, so I wanted something brighter this time round,” he explains.

Decorations also include Christmas trees and for the first time, a life-sized wooden sleigh decked with jumbo presents. “I wanted to have a sleigh surrounded by many gifts and brought this idea up to a friend who specialises in handywork. He agreed to help and brought my design to life.”

Philip’s Christmas Wonderland was also made possible with the help of the Town Council, which helped with the wiring for the lights, collecting recyclable boxes to paint over as presents. They  also offered space to store the decorations.

Behind-the-scenes: John, Philip’s godson, painting the sleigh (top) and Philip putting out decorations along the common corridor (bottom)

In addition to using recycled materials, decorations are also repurposed to minimise waste. Some decorations are reused for subsequent years, some are gifted to family and friends, while others are donated.

Recycled boxes repainted and repurposed as presents
Photo: Philip

A Season for Get-Togethers

Residents look forward to the decorations every year. “The neighbours would ask how I’ll be decorating the neighbourhood and when the lights would be up. It’s heartwarming to see neighbours coming together to admire the decorations and even take photos with them.”

Philip will also invite his neighbours to come to his flat to check out more Christmas decorations and enjoy festive snacks.

Like the common area, Philip’s home is decked out for the holidays

“This reminds me of my growing up days, where movie nights were held at the carpark. Everyone would gather with food and we’d all have a good time,” Philip reminisces. “I guess this is my way of bringing back the kampung spirit.”

Photos by Adeline Ang

  • Adeline Ang

    Content producer who writes too much and edits too little. Usually has a cold brew coffee in one hand as she stalks you on social media with the other.