I think I have spent eight out of the last ten Christmases in Thailand and they have always been a very quiet affair. Christmas 2012 was slightly different though.
My niece now attends high school which means a 45 minute ride in the boom bus (you can hear the music before you lay eyes on it) to the bigger town of Na Chaluai nestled at the small foot hills that separate Thailand from Laos and Cambodia.
It seems that every year the school have a Christmas concert. I have no idea why as Christmas day is not celebrated at all in these parts but as a lot of people know, the Thais barely need an excuse to organise a party.
Three days before Christmas Day I had been invited to speak at the concert about Christmas in Australia. The traditions, the difference in how Christmas is portrayed in Thailand and about the history and real reason for how Christmas Day came about.
I do not like public speaking so was quite nervous leading up to the day. My nerves took a hit when I found out that there would be 1,100 students in attendance plus local dignitaries and not the 300 odd students I had originally thought.
School starts at 8am so my kids had to be woken from their peaceful slumber to be bundled into the car and off to town. It was a cool morning and there were kids absolutely everywhere! My talk followed some Christmas Carols and a Nativity play. I was surprised (but heartened) at the Christian element so often missing from these sorts of events. I knew it wouldn’t last long though as when I stepped outside the assembly hall after my talk I could see the rest of the acts warming up. We could not stick around to watch as Jacob needed to get home for a sleep but as we drove off a Cabaret show was in full swing on the stage.
Before I left I took a few snaps of the people waiting to go on stage after the cabaret show finished. It was quite bizarre with many groups all dressed up with me having no idea what many of them were meant to represent.
We eventually dragged ourselves away from taking photos and being photographed and headed home. Jacob went to sleep while we cooked up a big lunch before relaxing and talking to family on Skype (almost impossible due to such poor phone signal.) My girls patiently waited for their two cousins to get home from school around 4.30pm before they all opened a few presents. All in all it was another wonderful Thai Christmas for us. I hope all my readers managed in your own special way to celebrate the day.