HOMES DECKED OUT FOR CHRISTMAS

He loves singing angels with candles

The 2m-tall Christmas tree (above left), which scrapes the ceiling, at Vincent Choo's flat in Potong Pasir.
The 2m-tall Christmas tree (above left), which scrapes the ceiling, at Vincent Choo's flat in Potong Pasir.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
He likes singing angels with candles (above).
He likes singing angels with candles (above).ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

After amassing Christmas decorations for about 10 years without being able to display much of the collection in his home, senior graphic designer Vincent Choo is finally able to make his four-room HDB flat in Potong Pasir look extremely festive for the season.

Out of respect for his Taoist parents - his mother died in 2005 and his father died last year - the 41-year-old Catholic had never put up such dramatic decorations at home, only displaying the tree and the nativity scene.

Previously, the bachelor channelled his Christmas creativity towards helping to decorate his church, the Church of Saint Francis Xavier in Serangoon Garden.

As a hobby, he has also been helping to decorate the homes of fellow parishioners for the past 15 years.

His fascination with Christmas decorations stems from his childhood memories of going to an aunt's place in Serangoon Garden during the festive season. "As an only child, I didn't have any siblings to fuss over me," he says.

His aunt's place was where he got to enjoy the feeling of "family togetherness and the Christmas spirit".

The 31-year-old flat, where he has lived in since 1984, is well-worn. But with the decorations, it feels like a dressed set from the Home Alone movies come to life, complete with the Nutcracker theme playing in the background.

He favours a white, red and silver theme for his home and believes in having a "good balance".

"I don't want my home to end up looking like a shop," he says.

He started decorating in the middle of October and took about three to four weeks piecing everything together, from the nativity scene to the centre piece - a 2m-tall Christmas tree that scrapes the ceiling, complete with baubles, trinkets and lights.

The tree, for which he paid "a few hundred dollars" in 2006, was the first item of his big Christmas decoration collection.

He is particularly fond of angels, especially singing angels holding candles, which are dotted around the house. They are mostly vintage pieces that he bought on eBay. Some are gifts from friends who bought them when they travel.

Over the years, his collection has come to occupy almost one room.

He also customises pieces, such as painting his angels white since he was not fond of the original blue.

The nativity scene, a collection of wooden statues from Milan he bought on eBay over the course of three years, has personalised touches. He pieced together the stable with the discarded base of a table lamp and added moss and styrofoam to make it look more life-like.

He insists that decorations do not have to be expensive. He adds: "You just have to know how to piece things together, bit and bobs, to make it look good."

The decorations stay up till mid- January. But most of his friends will not get to see his home decorations because he says he would be "too tired to entertain" after helping to decorate the church.

He says: "I'm quite a private person. I just enjoy the process of putting everything together."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'He loves singing angels with candles'. Print Edition | Subscribe