Do They Celebrate Christmas In Thailand?

credit: Uwe Schwarzbach

Thailand is a popular travel destination around the end of the calendar year, as the holiday season in December is when most tourists take time off for travel. This is also the season when Thailand is most welcoming to tourists, as the weather is the most pleasant during this time of year. This leads many tourists traveling to Thailand in December to wonder if they celebrate Christmas in Thailand.

Christmas is celebrated in Thailand, but it is not an official holiday. Most of the Thai population are Buddhists, which means they do not celebrate Christmas in a religious context. Christmas in Thailand is a festive season of decorations, lights, food, and events, but it is not a religious event.

Related: Do They Celebrate Thanksgiving In Thailand? | Do They Celebrate Halloween In Thailand?

Is Christmas Celebrated In Thailand?

Christmas is an important day of celebration, religious significance, and family gatherings in many countries worldwide, but is this tradition celebrated in Thailand?

Christmas is a Christian holiday, but Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country. This means that Christmas is not an officially recognized holiday in Thailand, and it is generally treated as a regular working day by most of the population.

However, Thailand welcomes many visitors who celebrate Christmas during this time of year and has begun to celebrate Christmas in some ways to accommodate travelers and capitalize on the season’s commercialism.

While most Thai people do not celebrate Christmas, many malls, shopping centers, businesses, hotels, and even some homes are adorned with Christmas decorations, and people can be seen wearing Christmas hats and festive attire.

The people of Thailand are very inclusive and are always ready to celebrate and have a good time. This means that many have adopted the festive spirit of Christmas and enjoy the hype and festivities that accompany this celebration.

Christmas is not an official holiday, but if you visit Thailand on December 25th, you will see plenty of Christmas decorations, events, festivities, and gatherings in every major city and large town.

What Are The Christmas Traditions In Thailand?

Christmas is not as popular in Thailand as elsewhere, simply because there are not as many Christians in Thailand as elsewhere. Still, there are some Christmas traditions that have made their way into Thailand for everyone to enjoy.

Some of the Christmas traditions in Thailand are setting up Christmas decorations, including hats, trees, and lights, gathering with family and friends for a meal, and exchanging gifts.

These traditions have been brought into the country by tourists and people who have immigrated to Thailand and want to celebrate this holiday as they would at home.

Christmas tree in front of Central World shopping mall
trungydang Christmas tree in front of Central World shopping mall

However, Thailand is known for doing things somewhat differently from everywhere else. There is always a Thailand twist in every Christmas tradition, as the traditions and celebrations here are less religious and more about having fun with friends and family.

This means that the Christmas traditions you may be used to are likely to be a little quirky in Thailand, so expect to be surprised at Christmas in Thailand.

How Popular Is Christmas In Thailand?

Christmas is a widely popular holiday in several countries internationally, but how popular is this holiday in Thailand? What can travelers expect regarding the popularity of Christmas in this nation?

In reality, around 90% of the Thai population is Buddhist, and Buddhism does not celebrate Christmas. This means that the majority of Thai people that do enjoy Christmas enjoy it only as a festive event, not a religious holiday.

All this means that Christmas is only popular as a festive holiday, and it is usually only celebrated in any way in major cities and tourist destinations.

Do They Exchange Christmas Gifts In Thailand?

Celebrating Christmas in most places involves exchanging gifts with friends and family. Is this part of celebrating Christmas in Thailand as well?

The exchanging of gifts in Thailand is done mainly by tourists and ex-pats who live in Thailand. There are always gifts for sale in Thailand, especially in tourist hotspots, and this aspect of the holiday is encouraged to spur the sales of gifts to tourists.

The local people of Thailand do not always exchange gifts for Christmas unless they are Christians, but they are happy to partake in festive celebrations and will exchange gifts if the occasion calls for it.

What Do They Eat On Christmas In Thailand?

Christmas traditions usually involve large lunches or dinners with plenty of roast foods, including turkey, chicken, lamb, ham, beef, and potatoes. These extravagant meals are a significant aspect of Christmas celebrations, but do they happen at Christmas in Thailand?

Traditional Christmas lunch or dinner is offered at hotels and restaurants in Thailand that cater specifically to tourists, but it is not widespread in the nation.

Local people often share a meal with family and friends on Christmas day, but the traditional Christmas meal is usually replaced by rice and curry.

The Christmas meal Westerners are used to can be found in more up-market hotels and restaurants, and these locations become a hub for those who celebrate Christmas in Thailand.

What Is Christmas Like In Thailand?

Travelers who celebrate Christmas and want to visit Thailand for the holidays may wonder what the overall feel and experience of Christmas are like in Thailand. Is it worth going to Thailand for Christmas?

Christmas is a fun experience in Thailand. All large cities have extravagant Christmas decorations, and there is a good Christmas feel everywhere you go.

Christmas decorations inside Central World shopping mall in Bangkok Thailand
Uwe Schwarzbach Christmas decorations inside Central World shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand

The feeling of the Christmas season is very prevalent in Thailand during December, and large malls and shopping centers put on large Christmas displays that involve elaborate lights, ornaments, and even light and firework displays.

Stores, restaurants, and businesses all embrace the Christmas spirit and often have staff wearing Christmas attire. Everywhere you will feel Christmas-ey, and you will find yourself amid typical Christmas merriment almost everywhere you go.

If you want to travel to Thailand over Christmas but are concerned about what Christmas is like in this country, rest assured that you will enjoy the Christmas season in Thailand so long as you visit the larger cities.

Where To Spend Christmas In Thailand

If you are visiting Thailand over Christmas and wonder where the best places to go on December 25th are, you are spoiled for choice.

The best places to go on Christmas in Thailand if you want the best Christmas experience are the larger cities in the country, especially Bangkok.

These locations have the most decorations, the best lights, and the best Christmas feeling. It is easy to find a good Christmas meal here; there are plenty of places to buy gifts and plenty of people to enjoy Christmas with.

If you have any friends in Thailand, spend time with them. If not, spend time in the restaurants that celebrate Christmas, shop the Christmas sales, and enjoy the festive Christmas events and shows in Thailand’s cities.

Does Thailand Have Santa Clause?

Santa Clause is part of the Christmas tradition in most places, but is this a part of Thailand’s Christmas celebrations and traditions?

Christmas in Thailand includes depictions and models of Santa Clause, but Santa Clause is not a character taught to children and is not where children receive gifts at night.

In Thailand, the only instances of Santa Clause happen when Santa visits schools during the holiday season to bring small gifts to the children.

These small events are usually a simple morale boost for the kids in schools and are typically funded by NPOs in Thailand as an act of charity.

Santa Clause is not a particularly prominent Christmas figure in Thailand, but he is seen from time to time in certain circumstances.