All in the family

All in the family

In the lead up to Chinese New Year, hordes of people shopping in Chinatown is a common sight, so are stories of home chefs baking up a storm late into the night. But marketing manager Brenda Loke remains cool as a cucumber, and is all ready to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Her three-storey intermediate terrace house in Joo Chiat has been decked out in red for the past three weeks, well ahead of Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 10.

"I am kiasu lah," she says. "I packed away the Christmas decorations after the 12 days of Christmas, rested for a week, then the Chinese New Year decor was up the following week."

Her decor for Chinese New Year starts from the outside, where Ms Loke hung a red cloth over the entrance with a row of fire crackers by the side and a pot of kumquat on the ground.

On the main door, she stuck a red paper cutting with the 12 animals from the Chinese horoscope, and the word, fu, meaning prosperity on it.

"Usually I would hang scrolls with auspicious greetings on them, but this year, I decided to do something different," she says. "The red cloth and paper cutting are to welcome spring."

Growing up in her parents' home, her mother would deck out the home for Chinese New Year every year, and Ms Loke is following in her footsteps.

She began decorating her home five years ago when she had her daughter, Olivia, and now does this every year. "Once you start decorating, you cannot stop," she says.

Olivia and her three-year old brother Anthony know what to expect during Chinese New Year.

"Mummy, there should be candy here," says Olivia excitedly, pointing to a gold ingot container on the side console by the door.

To welcome wealth into the home, Ms Loke always places two gold ingots by the door, which she later fills with candy.

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