Christmas weather in Chiang Mai is a little like Europe.
It was not unusual to have 30 degrees at noon and between 8–12 degrees in
the evening. Santa was happy to be able to wear his big warm coat. Bonfires
along the streets, Jingle Bells coming out of gardens, friends and foreign
communities gathering to celebrate their Christmas customs and share them
with their Thai friends.
With the Chiang Mai Carnival (Mardi Gras) festivities in
the middle of town, Chiang Mai was an even greater mix of cultural diversity
this year, despite the chilly air.
From November, we knew that Christmas was coming, with
department stores being decorated with fairy lights, and artificial snow
painted on shop windows; a little out of place here in Thailand. Shopping
centers were even busier and the streets almost like Bangkok on Fridays at
five, many times coming to a complete standstill.
Everywhere you could hear Christmas carols - the
traditional Christian Christmas songs, and at many places concerts were held
to raise money for charity.
Father Christmas (AKA Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Sinter
Klasse) has become the human face of Christmas. Pictures of the old man with
a long white beard, ermine trimmed red coat, and a large bag of toys were
seen everywhere. And in keeping with the magic of a children’s Christmas,
he was seen at many places, and at family gatherings in Chiang Mai.
There is still room for the Christmas spirit, despite the crass
commercialism, in this predominantly Buddhist country.
takes a break and enjoys the fireworks with the kids.
Anita and Fred Lambersoy (on the left in their Norwegian national costumes)
and friends from the Scandinavian community celebrate under the Christmas
Bells at Rydges Amora Hotel
young and young-at-heart thoroughly enjoyed themselves at The Hole in the
wall, British style.
wine, turkey, ribs, and a raffle were big attractions amongst the
Rooj (second left) of the Rachamankha Hotel hosted a Christmas Dinner for
his friends in the beautiful settings of the inner court of the hotel.
it always been your dream to sit on Santa’s lap just one more time? Frank
and Becky Weicks receive their Christmas presents from ‘the real Santa’
who told everybody that the reindeers are parked on the condominium roof and
are impatiently waiting to take off again.
guests at the Rydges Amora enjoy a huge delicious buffet.
youngest and, judging from the white beard, the oldest, seen at the CMU
convention hall auditorium.
Eve of a different kind at Darling Wine Bar, where Darling Dang (on the
right) was on hand to welcome Surasak Suveera at the opening of his
(left) and Chef Pom (with cap) didn’t miss the opportunity to personally
wish everyone a Merry Christmas at The House.
between preparing Italian Christmas delicacies, Buonissimo’s Sergio
(standing, back) found time to wish Buon Natale to his guests.
sing at the Amari Rincome Hotel’s beautifully decorated poolside.
jolly-good Christmas eve at the Bear’s Den. Did David S. on the right
really try to impersonate Santa?
show-dancers, of course in Santa and reindeer outfits, dance their way into
the hearts of everyone who was able to catch a glimpse of them.
the holy old men know that I wanted a boomerang?
no age limit for being happy when Santa brings you a present.
though it’s cold, the little ones still came out to catch a glimpse of
Santa at one of his rare sightings.
Saenkham Terrace, Book Kitavadhana and Bernard Sumner (playing piano)
provide musical entertainment with a Christmas touch.