Today we are wrapping our very few, small presents with bits of scrap paper we have drawn on or made lists on. The kids have been working hard on a Lego Christmas tree and clay figurines. We danced around in our hotel room to a few Christmas Carols before bed last night. Tonight we will watch our first Christmas movie of the year.
We have been exposed to very little Christmas commercialism this year. Chiang Mai certainly had more than Koh Phangan. In the big city of Chiang Mai we got our pictures taken with a Thai Santa, saw Christmas decorations in the mall, and heard Christmas carols at Starbucks. Even that was extremely tame to what we would have experienced back home where you really can’t go anywhere for the entire month of December without hearing Christmas music and seeing decorations everywhere.
Here, on this island in Southern Thailand, the Christmas decorations are blown up balloons, some Merry Christmas signs, and a very tropical looking pine tree decorated sparsely in decorations.
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Christmas. Sure, I enjoy getting together with family. I love that. And the food. The food, the food, the food. Yes. But almost everything else I could leave behind. I HATE the commercialism of the holiday. The pressure of presents, both giving and receiving. The mounds of garbage that go out to the curb on boxing day. I dislike the decorations as I feel they are a waste of both money and resources. I dislike the lights as they are a waste of energy. My husband thinks I am a Scrooge but I just can’t get behind a holiday of wastefulness.
In some ways we are able to create our own family traditions and do our best to keep the commercialism out of our Christmas but of course it is impossible to avoid entirely when our lives are intertwined with the greater community. And that is why I so enjoy spending Christmas overseas. We are entirely able to make our own tradition. To make our Lego Christmas trees. To choose small presents that will need to fit into our backpacks. And to make the day about doing something special with our family (we are hoping this storm we have found ourselves in for the last week will soon pass and we can go snorkelling for Christmas day.)
How about you? Do you love Christmas? Do you enjoy making your own Christmas traditions?