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‘I’m a Grinch, but I still spoil my boys’: Adrian Pang's Christmas traditions and why it’s all about family

“I am always a bit irritable when putting up the Christmas tree, because it’s always such a mess. But not as irritable as when we have to take down the bloody tree,” lamented Adrian Pang, who musters up the energy to put up the tree a few days before Christmas.

The 57-year-old actor and theatre producer, creative director of NDP 2022 and co-founder/co-director of theatre company Pangdemonium is a self-confessed Grinch when it comes to the fanfare surrounding Christmas.

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“The whole hassle of occasions like these puts me in a bit of a mood so I have to remind myself that the loved ones around me enjoy or celebrate it much more than I do. I’ve had to persuade myself to get into the vibe together with them,” explained the father-of-two, who admits to becoming more of a Grinch over the years, but also more adept at hiding it.

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CHRISTMAS SHOPPING? BAH HUMBUG!

“Christmas to me is probably more significant than birthdays or any other event in the year – mostly because it means I have to buy more presents than for any other occasion,” Pang said, half in jest. His gift list is short and selective with only close family and a few special friends making the cut. “I’d say a maximum of a dozen in a “generous” year. I have to live up to my rep as a grinch, you know.”

On his list of gifts this year are, naturally, Pangdemonium’s 2024 season tickets. “I’m particularly stoked about Pangdemonium’s 2024 season because it is made up of three shows that are close to my heart: Falling, which is a revival of our 2016 hit; legendary American classic, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and Dear Evan Hansen, which is probably my favourite musical of all time,” he explained. The season ticket allows theatregoers to enjoy access to all three productions at a discounted price and also enjoy priority booking.

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WHEN THE GRINCH BECOMES SANTA

The doting father looks forward to his sons’ reactions to his gifts. “The opening of presents is quite a significant moment. You can tell right at the moment they unravel the present whether you’ve made a good choice or not. But my two boys are actors so they’re very good at convincing me anyway.”

Pang grew up in a family who enjoyed big Christmas celebrations with Christian practices. “But as the years have gone by, it’s become more of a psychological, emotional thing rather than anything else and it’s really all about family,” he said. 

With Zack and Xander currently living in the United Kingdom, Christmas has become even more important in the Pang household.

“Now that they’re busy individuals and we are too, having that distance often doesn’t lend itself easily to getting together. But making the effort makes the occasion much more special.” For the past few years, the family has celebrated the occasion both in the United Kingdom and in Singapore.

A couple of years ago, they spent it at an Airbnb in London with conventional trimmings such as a fireplace and Christmas tree. “There is something about spending the occasion in a place where it’s nice and chilly. It lends itself to the whole vibe,” Pang reminisced. 

Christmas isn’t complete without a feast and this Grinch enjoys a hearty Christmas feasting. “I love roast dinners. Not crazy about turkey though. So, on the odd occasion when we decide to buck tradition and have roast beef instead, I’m a very happy grinch. Plus, lots of red wine. And then napping in front of the TV.”

His most memorable Christmas? “I do recall one occasion when the boys were very young. There was video evidence of this. Zack was unwrapping a present and Xander went straight for it as well. From “Oh wow, thank you, Daddy”, it quickly escalated to a fight and the video ends with me saying, “Alright, that’s enough!” From being all cuddly and Christmassy, it went into a whole other genre”, he recalls with a laugh.  

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NEW YEAR, NEW ADVENTURES

With the new year fast also approaching, the multi-faceted thespian is excited about the possibilities ahead. “I want to do new things in 2024, especially for work. Pangdemonium has a very special 2024 season lined up, but also for myself personally, I want to create opportunities for myself to do different things. I never make New Year resolutions, but I want to enter into the new year with a whole new state of mind.”

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