Expectations for the Christmas season: carollers; oversized socks; a red-suited invader who is, for some reason, rewarded with milk and cookies. And trees, ah yes, Christmas trees. Nothing like the forceful extraction of an evergreen conifer and watching it succumb to the tropical elements after drabbing its corpse in fairy lights, baubles and an inaccurate angel (sorry folks, I'm OT [Old Testament] when it comes to my many-eyed wheeled beings).

The conventional yuletrees are erected at our local malls but Millenia Walk embarks on a meaningful sustainable route. This year, you'll find a special tree at their establishment; one that isn't made out of leaves, bark or plastic. Instead, it is made out of… chairs?

Called the The Millenia Walk Seed Tree, this structure is designed in collaboration with Timber Actually and Charlotte Puxley Flowers. Made from upcycled wood by Timber Actually, the 7-metre tall installation doubles up as a photo op and as a resting area. Held together without nails, the tree is made up of 800 seating blocks (or "seeds"); arranged in alternating layers of Angsana and Mahogany African Mahogany wood.

There will be programmes that visitors can partake in. Explore the evolution of Singapore’s verdant landscape and discover the symbiosis between nature and humans. Learn about native tree species that lined our streets and how you can contribute to the preservation of nature in our daily lives.

Venture through the Neighbourhood Tree Trail, which combines visionaries from the fields of architecture, art and design. Installations from creatives like MM (Marcus Yang and Milon Goh), Aeropalmics (Dawn Ang) and Pass it On will be on display.

The ethos of sustainability goes beyond mere displays. Millenia Walk tenants are in on the action—Commune, OVAS and Flower Matters. With activities like sustainable dinner party setups, these programmes encourage shoppers to reconcile responsible hosting practices and environmental consciousness.

Millenia Walk's Seed Tree isn't just about the commercial aspects of the season. lights and festive cheer—it's a celebration that honours nature's precious gift while inspiring us all to embrace sustainable living in the most joyous ways possible.

Millenia Walk's Seed Tree will run until 31 December.

Guess what—there will never be an end to consumerism. Educate people on the landfills running out of space, the toxic emissions released into the environment, and how only a fraction of what is recycled actually gets recycled; but buyers gonna buy.

You’d think a two-year long pandemic on such a scale would be enough to make folks reconsider the things that are truly of value. If anything, it seemed a momentary blip before the world resumed normalcy, and its citizens returned armed with pent-up consumerism they call Revenge Shopping. Take a look at the statistics and you’ll see that the dip in the pattern has since been on a steady increase.

We’ve generated 1.86 million tonnes of domestic waste in 2022 (out of a total of 7.39 tonnes of solid waste). It’s up from 1.82 million tonnes the year before, and it would be no surprise if numbers are projected to rise. To make matters worse, foreign countries are now implementing import bans of recyclables. Want to take a stab at the total recycling rate of discarded textiles? The lowest of all collected materials at a meagre 2 percent.

Landfill. KATIE RODRIGUEZ

Yeah, pretty bleak way to end the year so here’s a challenge.

Think about the last time you made a purchase you thought would change your life. Now contrast that with how you feel about it now. Even if it still stands as a wise deal, the visceral level of excitement can never match up. So back to the (case in) point. Consumerism will never end because people will never figure out how to satisfy the empty void in their hearts which is further exploited by an advertising culture on steroids to fuel a never-ending pursuit for economic growth. Hurrah.

While there is no hard and fast solution, our proposition is this. Rather than be deluded that recycling will salvage your poor decisions, make better ones.

Of course, we can’t afford to constantly live a fully sustainable lifestyle which isn’t tuned into modern society. We can, however, spend a little more effort to source for items that were perhaps bought by others in the spur of the moment. Or an item carted out online which arrived untrue to the buyer’s size, never worn. If the piece has been lightly used, is there a practical reason why it can’t be utilised again? Or simply an ingrained stigma propagating that pre-owned equates to inferior?

Instead of gratifying the illogical desire for the new and shiny, or conforming to the gifting practice of senseless knick-knacks under a budget; consider giving a deeper meaning to the season. Not just giving loved ones a token of appreciation, but the gift itself a second lease of life.

Alternatively, where to thrift new looks locally

Cloop, Exit, Flame Vintage, Function Five Thrift Shop, NearestTen, Nonmainstream, Thryft

On Blue Ivy and Hailey Bieber

Look. When a season that's all about giving rolls around, you tend to keep your options open. You've people on the good list that you wanna play Santa to. So, you've secured that iPhone 15 Pro for dear ole dad and that Tefal wok set for your sis (it's not misogynistic if she actually asked for it, mmmkay). But then your Significant Other drop hints about "something that doesn't break the bank but yet still make a statement", you start to put out feelers. Especially, when you're a cis-male, who works for a male lifestyle magazine, you accept help whenever it is available.

On Gal Gadot and Selena Gomez

And it's happenstance that AUPEN came into our periphery because celebrities like Taylor Swift, Gal Gadot, Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber and Beyonce's daughter Blue Ivy were all spotted with it. Drawing inspiration from art and architecture and made from real leather, AUPEN's design team created a collection of asymmetrical bags— a reminder that life isn't perfect... but coming across AUPEN's collection is close to it.

To further streamline your choice in choosing a bag, we asked our intern for her opinion. This is what she has to say about these selected few:

Purpose

Purpose with Chain (left) and Purpose Noir (right)

"This model goes with every outfit and can make the most basic outfit pop. The brown Purpose one with the chain is more of a day look with denim or fall colours. If I want to party, the Purpose Ice is perfect because of the dripping crystals can move with me when I dance. I do wish that it came with a crossbody strap."

Joy

Joy Noir

"At SGD155, this is a no-brainer for those who are on a budget. I love that this bag can fit all my essentials like my like my iPhone, keys, wallet, portable charger... (Editor's note: she lists a lot of other things that will fill up our SEO quota but we decided to just cut to the chase.) Unlike the Purpose, this bag comes with a crossbody strap that allows me to go hands-free."

Lover

Lover

"If your girl like bigger bags with extra storage space, this is might be the one for you. The slouchy silhouette can be dressed up or down and the softness of the bag is perfect. With adjustable straps, you can style it however you want—crossbody; on the shoulder. The flaps can also be styled tucked in or out for a different vibe, whatever they may choose."

Wave

Wave

"I know this isn't a carrier but LOOK AT HOW CUTE THEY ARE. These earrings can level up a basic outfit immediately!"

Any purchased AUPEN product has a gift box option so it'll arrive in a luxurious box with an engraved AUPEN metal silver plate on the lid. The jewellery will come in a grey box with a velvet exterior for that elevated experience.

Happy Noel Tea. TWG TEA

Like Mariah Carey re-emerging for her dedicated time in the spotlight annually, TWG Tea showcasing its latest festive tea and menu is something we can all anticipate as Christmas lights start going up.

That's not to say the brand can't be enjoyed over the rest of the year. Many of us have a favourite from the ever-expanding selection of luxury teas. If anything, 15 years is testament enough that its offerings goes beyond seasonal fancy.

For fans, the anniversary microsite maps out the archive of revolutionary moments during this ongoing legacy. The digital World of TWG extends beyond downloadable Instagram stickers and wallpapers to its inaugural Virtual World with 3D models of signature products and 360° views of some of the world’s most renowned tea estates.

But Back to Christmas

Yule Logs. TWG TEA

Starting, obviously, with the tea, the limited edition comes off the Grand Mode Tea Collection like the holiday if it could be captured in a taste. The Happy Noel Tea blends orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom, apples and pink peppercorn. It's pretty spice-heavy from the outset, and also marks the first time the tea maker uses white tea for its festive range.

Pairing wonderfully are the sweet delicacies like the handcrafted Yule Logs. A modern rendition layers coconut sponge and Christmas Lights Tea-infused mousse with passion fruit crémeux and fresh tropical fruit, while the chocolate decadent one tops Napolean Tea-infused mousse with gold leaves and hazelnuts.

On the petite, pop-in-your-mouth side, the (you guessed it; tea-infused) Chocolate Bonbons and Pistachio Ganache are great gifts too. More so if they are for yourself.

TWG Tea Salon at Marina Bay Sands. TWG TEA

If you want all that jazz wrapped as a dine-in setting to treat a loved one, the Festive Set Menu is another great option. From sparkling cocktails to mains and desserts, the curated selection of favourites feel especially atmospheric in the iconic locale of the different TWG Tea Salons. And fret not, these dishes infuse tea in creative ways (think Matcha Salmon) that either add subtle touch or go undetected.

When it comes to Christmas, we wouldn't exactly say it's the answer to the fatigue of baseless gift guides and restaurant recommendations, but it does a simple, quality festive experience make.

TWG Tea's Happy Noel Tea, Yule logs, Chocolate Bonbons, Pistachio Ganache, and Festive Set Menu are available until 31 December.

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