Our son’s first word (apart from mama and papa) was elephant – every time we pointed to an elephant in one of his books he’d say “peh-pet”. Last year he was still a bit young to appreciate the celebration of Christmas, and was afraid of Santa Claus, even when he arrived with his favorite creature, Sambo the elephant. This year we milked that naughty/nice list idea cuz it works like a charm – it’ll be a treat to watch this little boy on Christmas morning now that he knows better. Sambo, happily, is no longer a regular on Phnom Penh’s busy riverside. He retired this year to a zoo.
Christmas cards with a Khmer twist
I bought these cards at a Women’s International Group (WIG) Christmas Fair a few years ago. On the back of the cards is a copyright for Global Art and Anita Dean who, from a quick google search, is the founder of Global Art, Phnom Penh. I wish they printed the name of the artist too.
Anyway, I hope I’m not breaking any copyright rules by scanning and posting these beautiful cards. If anyone knows who the artist is, please leave a comment!
Christmas in the Penh
I love Christmas! But Cambodia is not a Christian country, so it’s up to the expat community to organize our own holiday affairs. Some events, like the ones below, have grown over the years and are a fun family outing. The best part of this year is that we have a baby boy to celebrate the holidays with :-)
WIG Christmas Fair 2011
Location: Hotel Intercontinental
Time: Sunday, 27 Nov 2011 10:00am – 5:00pm
Cost: Admission is $3, children under 12 free. Proceeds go to projects that support vulnerable women and children in Cambodia.
Christmas Village 2011
Location: Le Duo Restaurant #17 St 228, between St 51 and 57
Time: Friday – Sunday Dec 2-4 10am-10pm
Christmas Craft Celebration 2011
Location: Nam Trea wedding hall, #167, St 163 in Toul Tum Pung
Time: Sat Dec 3 10am-4pm
Christmas Carols by Bella Voce 2011
Location: The Intercontinental Hotel Ballroom
(296 Mao Tse Toung Blvd +855-23-424888)
Time: Saturday, December 3, 6pm
Cost: Individual $5, Family $15. Tickets will be sold at Jars of Clay coffee shop, #39 St 155 (near Russian market) Toul Tom Poung and at Jacob’s Well Restaurant, Crn of St 111 and 242 ( near Monivong and Sihanouk Boulevard)
Christmas Street Fair 2011
Location: St 240 between Norodom Blvd and St 19
Time: Fri-Sat Dec 9-10 5-10pm
Christmas Caroling 2011
Location: Gasolina 56- 58, St 57 in BKK 1
Time: Fri Dec 16 6:30pm
And then there are the cafes that offer your traditional desserts for order – from gingerbread cookies to fruit cakes; pannetone; pumpkin, apple and pecan pies. Check at The Shop, Java Cafe, Jars of Clay, and Le Duo.
Chestnuts roasting on an open wok..
…and other holiday icon mashups, sprinkled with an Asian twist. Western holidays are already so commercialized back home, they’re often adulterated further on their way to becoming eagerly-adopted shopping holidays in non-Christian countries.
Like the huge blowup pumpkin, decorated like a Christmas tree at one of Phnom Penh’s local bookstores last Christmas.
Like the bunnies, traditionally associated with Easter, which seem to take center stage in every Christmas Season set in Bangkok (here’s one at the Emporium on Sukhumvit). Edited to note: Asia is about to welcome the Year of the Rabbit in a few weeks, so this is the reason for all the bunnies in the Christmas sets :-) With Christmas over, the bunnies’ costumes and sets are being adjusted for Valentine’s Day marketing.
Photo by Keith Kelly
missing Christmas in New York
Holidays in the tropics just isn’t the same as Christmas in New York. This year my annual leave happened to fall short of letting us stay in the city for Christmas, but at least I got to catch most of the holiday frenzy. It’s the time of year to enjoy the tourist areas of Rockefeller and Fifth Avenue, normally avoided like the plague the rest of the year. I especially love the creative window displays where department stores try to outdo each other– including their own past displays– every year. Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth never disappoints, and it’s a dense visual feast this year. Merry Christmas everyone!