How do you know that Christmas is near? Is it the cold winter weather? The festive Christmas decorations everywhere you look? Or is it the crowded malls, with Santa taking pictures, Christmas music in the air, and great deals on potential gifts?
When you live in a tropical country, the weather is warm. Top that off by living in a country where they don’t celebrate Christmas (I think they are just trying to help out Santa as he races around the world delivering presents…), and you can’t tell December apart from November or January.
When we first moved to Thailand, I really struggled with it not feeling like Christmas. I decorated my home and we played lots of Christmas music, but we still wore summer clothing and preferred iced drinks or hot chocolate or cider. This is our fourth Christmas in Thailand (we spent one in the US), and I realized that it feels like Christmas this year. The weather and outside things haven’t changed, but it feels like Christmas.
Why? I have been asking myself that question for a few days, and I think I just figured it out. Traditions. It was as I went about our normal Christmas traditions that made it feel like Christmas. Some are from when I was younger, like baking cookies and making peanut brittle. But others are distinctly here in Thailand, like going to take pictures of the Christmas decorations at one of the big malls.
When we first moved, I did the traditions that I could, but missed many others (big Christmas parties, snuggling in front of the fireplace while sipping hot cider, etc.). Christmas has different traditions when we are in Thailand, and I have come to look forward to them. They are also what helps me know that Christmas is coming.
What traditions do you have that make it feel like Christmas to you? Would it be Christmas if you didn’t do them this year?