Thais explain what Christmas means to them

Seriously, what’s with all the Christmas?

Bangkok may be more international than the rest of overwhelmingly Buddhist Thailand, but that doesn’t explain the annual craze that takes hold for Santa sleighs, jingle bells and songs about the Christ.

No, we’ve definitely got our own Christmas fetish going on. Is it a love for basically any festival? The holiday’s modern emphasis on shopping and sales? Excitement about marginally less warm weather?

Instead of making guesses, we went out to Amarin Plaza and Central World to harass random strangers by interrupting their selfie sessions with one simple question: “What does Christmas mean to you?” We even got an answer from a 16th century king, or at least the actor who portrays him.

Here’s what they said.


“It’s a celebration of foreigners, but we’re all a part of the the world, and Thais should rejoice and celebrate with them.” — Col. Wanchana Sawasdee, 42, who plays the titular character in the “King Naresuan” series.


“It’s a happy day. It’s a day to spend time your friends and families.” — Kalayakorn Tasurin, 20 (second from left)


“Christmas is fun. I want a toy plane as a present.” — Poon, 5


“I think of presents when I think of Christmas. It means surprises and cool weather!” — Kitti Chareonroong-uthai, 18


“It’s a festival of giving.” — Malinee Suwidechkasol, 54


“It’s a foreigner’s festival. They give each other presents.” — Amphon Nernudom, 33


“It doesn’t really mean anything to me, but I could use the cold weather!” — Ratchanikorn Duangtadam, 22 “I don’t think it’s that important for Thais.” — Natthakarn Disadee, 20


“It’s a good change, here and also an opportunity for people to celebrate something new.” — Pairat Yuma, 50

“Honestly? I think it’s irrelevant in Thailand because we’re not a Christian country.” — Chayada, 23 (left)
“Although I think the festival is irrelevant, it’s always nice to see that people enjoy it.” —Parawee, 22 (right)


“Christmas makes us feel excited for the cold weather, and there are many activities to enjoy doing.” — Duangcheewan Pong-iua, 19

Photos: Watsamon Tri-yasakda

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