Take it from me: the travel bug doesn't go into remission during the holiday season!
There's no place like home for the holidays but I'm happy to have been able to spend several Christmases in great places like Florida, Colonial Williamsburg, Philadelphia and of course my hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. However, last year I spent my first Christmas abroad in Bangkok, Thailand.
Christmas in Thailand is a little different from Christmas in America. For starters, there's sadly no hope for a white Christmas. For this Pennsylvanian, it's strange to be celebrating Christmas in 100 degree weather under blue skies and palm trees! No ugly sweater parties in this heat!! Another difference is that most Thais are Buddhist so the traditional religious images of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are pretty absent among the holiday decorations.
But, Thais love a good celebration and the city of Bangkok goes all out to decorate for Christmas! BTS stations are decked in twinkling lights, giant Christmas trees spring up outside the mega malls of MBK, Central World and Siam Paragon. Many restaurants and hotels offer full Christmas dinners. Christmas music is set on repeat at shops throughout the city. Christmas sales abound. Overall, Bangkok is a pretty fun place to celebrate Christmas!
|BTS Skytrain station during the holidays.|
One of my favorite things about Christmas is putting up all my fun, festive decorations. Tragically, they were sitting in my closet in Pennsylvania, oceans away from my little one bedroom Bangkok apartment. In order to properly celebrate Christmas I knew that I needed some decorations pronto! But, where can you buy Christmas decorations in Bangkok? Tesco Louts of course! I headed right over and bought a pre-lit, pre-decorated Christmas tree, some tinsel and some craft supplies.
Every year I like to do at least one Christmas Craft. (#CraftyChristmas!) This year I made a Christmas ornament display to cover the weirdly placed inside window of my apartment. (Seriously, WHY is there a window exposing the bathroom to the living room??) I bought a box of round ornaments in assorted colors and a spool of twine. With my rainbow sharpies I colored the twine, attached the ornaments and then hung the balls at various heights. Finally, I threw on some sparkly tinsel and voila- weird bathroom window is now weird Christmasy bathroom window.
So far I had the following Christmas ingredients: a fun city and decorations. But, I was missing a pretty vital piece of the Christmas puzzle...my family! On Christmas morning, I took the BTS to the Suvarnabumi airport and picked up my mom and sister! My Christmas presents had arrived :)
With my jetlagged family finally in Bangkok, I could finally celebrate Christmas. We had a lovely lunch at my favorite go-to restaurant, Wine Connection, bought a batch of Christmas cookies and then settled in for an evening of Christmas movies, wine and family time.
Every Christmas we watch our favorite holiday movie: A Muppet's Christmas Carol. There's a line in one of the songs that completely defined my first Christmas abroad:
Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas
Christmas in Bangkok is not the same as Christmas at home. But with some fun decorations, a city that loves to celebrate and my family it turned out to be a great Christmas!
Where did you celebrate Christmas?