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Growing up, you would always see articles/book/tv shows about how people celebrate Christmas around the world. The impression you get is that everyone, everywhere celebrates something this time of year, even if it isn’t Christmas.
I can say categorically that Thailand, and SE Asia in general, really doesn’t celebrate anything around Christmas. Save for a few hotels which cater to tourists, I have seen nothing Christmas related.
This really should come as no surprise. Thailand is not a Christian country nor was it ever colonized by Europeans. Outside of expats and tourists, there has never been an historical reason to celebrate Christmas. Also, given its latitude, the winter solstice isn’t as big of a deal as it might be farther north.
One year ago I was in Macau on Christmas day. Being a former Portuguese colony, you could see Christmas decorations in middle of town. You could even see some Christmas things in Hong Kong. Here however, it is a Christmas desert.
I just got finished talking to my family over Skype. They were doing their annual Christmas Eve celebration at my parents house this year. This is the second year in a row I wasn’t there. I had been there every year of my life prior to leaving on this trip.
Later today I’ll be meeting up with some blog readers and other expats who live in Bangkok for Christmas dinner.
I’m glad to be in Bangkok. This marks the end of my SE Asian adventure. I’ll be posting the contest results tomorrow or the day after and sending emails out to the winners. I have a bunch of stuff to ship home which should reduce the amount of crap I carry around significantly. I’ve been lugging my old laptop around since I was in Saigon. I have a lot to do in Bangkok before I leave, which I should do around New Year’s Day.
If anyone in Bangkok or Dubai would like to meet up, please send me an email or contact me on Twitter.