Top: A Nativity play in progress at a school in 2018. Image: Saint Louis Chachoengsao / Facebook

It’s hard to find what resembles traditional Christmas in Bangkok, where semblances of holiday cheer come with sales tags attached and Christmas trees are stacks of “modern art” hung with logos of sponsors. But we did give it a try and compile the following guide for X’mas normies who prefer the “old ways.”

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Christmas fair at Santa Cruz Church, Bangkok. Image: วัดซางตาครู้ส โบสถ์ซางตาครู้ส กุฎีจีน / Facebook

Travel back in time to the roaring ’20s at the Santa Cruz Church in a historic Thai-Portuguese community, where outdoor jazz performances and swing dance will take place on Christmas Eve.

Admittance to the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: Swing Dance at Kadeejeen – Khlongsan” event is free. Bangkok Swing dance group is set to shimmy to music by Mahidol University jazz bands. The event runs from 6:30pm to 10pm. There will also be a Christmas market and lucky draws. 


Choose for Me, Old Santa Claus

A lucky winner gets a car at Assumption Christmas Fair in 2018. Image: Assumption College / Facebook.

Try your luck (possibly) win big prizes at soi dao, or lucky draws in Christmas fairs like the one at Assumption College in Bangrak district on Dec. 20. Running all day from 08.30am until 6pm, the carnival resembles a Buddhist temple fun fair, with carnival games, lucky draws, and stalls set up by students. Tickets will be 150 baht.

Not to be outdone, St. Louis Church in Silom also recently announced that up to 20,000 tickets for its Christmas fair soi dao draw will be sold this year. The church also promised more prizes than last year. The party starts 6pm on Dec. 24. 

Jingle Bell Rock

Retrospect performs at Assumption Christmas Fair in 2018. Image: Assumption College / Facebook.

Enjoy a concert at the Assumption Christmas Fair on Dec. 20. This year’s lineup includes hip-hop artist Fukking Hero, Foolstep, Whal & Dolph, Sweet Mullet, and Safeplanet. See the full schedule below:

German punk-slash-medieval chanson band Kopi Kaputa as well as the Mercy Center’s Children Choir will also play German Christmas carols at the Goethe Institute’s German Christmas Market on the weekend of Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.

Across the Chao Phraya River, a children choir performance and a charity market will take place at Chang Chui on Dec. 22. Proceedings from the event will be donated to schoolchildren in need in Chonburi province, organizers say.

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Bonus non-Bangkok content: Thai Christians in northeastern are famed for their nighttime Christmas Star Procession – known by locals as hae dao – where hundreds of glittering floats carry big and small recreations of the Star of Bethlehem, very much like Buddhist Lent parades in the region. 

Christmas Star Procession at St Michael’s Cathedral in Sakon Nakhon Christmas will take place nightly from Dec. 23 to Dec. 25. Similar processions will also be held Dec. 24 at Wat Ban Song Khon in Mukdahan, and on Dec. 25 at St Michael’s Church in Yasothon.

O Come All Ye Faithful

A Christmas mass at Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok in 2013. Image: Father Ray Foundation

Some churches in Bangkok offer English-language services for their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day religious services. 

Holy Redeemer Church (Catholic) will hold its English-language Christmas Eve mass 05.30pm and 11.00pm on Dec. 24. Christmas Day mass for non-Thai speakers will be at 9.45am, 11.00am and 05.30pm. 

Meanwhile, Christ Church on Sathorn Road has a host of Anglican events lined up: a Christmas carol service at 6pm on Dec. 15, and a Christingle service on 6pm on Christmas Eve, with the first Christmas communion at 11:15pm. Christmas Day service is at 10am. 

To Kids From 1 to 92

Image: Evangelical Church Bangkok

Starry Starry Night family Christmas event will feature real animals in a nativity scene. It 10:30am to 3pm on Saturday Dec. 14 at the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. Pony riding included. 

A children’s nativity event will also be held 10am on Dec. 8 at Christ Church. 

Later We’ll Have Some Pumpkin Pie…

Image: IKEA

The much beloved IKEA Family Julbord Christmas Buffet Dinner will take place from 5pm to 7pm, and 7:30pm to 9:30pm on Dec. 20 at IKEA Bang Na and IKEA Bang Yai. 

IKEA Family Card holders can book a buffet ticket for themselves and a friend at 299 baht per person from now through Dec. 15. After that, the price is 399 baht per person. 

Holiday Inn Silom: Christmas Eve dinner at The Brassiere costs 1,165 baht, but book online before Dec. 8 to get a discounted price of around 680 baht. Christmas Day buffets, both lunch and dinner, cost 1,047 baht, and book ahead for a discounted price of 590 baht. 

Now I Have a Machine Gun, Ho-Ho-Ho!

Head to BKK Screening Room to relive the heartwarming nostalgia of all-time Christmas classic: Die Hard. The film screens 6.30pm on Dec. 12. Check the mini-theatre’s website for other Christmas movies like Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, Elf, and Ghostbusters.

For a different kind of hardcore, the Russian Embassy is hosting a screening of “Stilyagi” (“Hipsters”), a 2008 Russian musical film about the 1950s Soviet youth subculture that celebrated American dress and dance, rebelling against Communist youth officials, at 6:30pm Dec. 23 at Iconsiam. Admittance is free. Subtitles in English.

To go back further in Russian history, the wintry epic “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) by David Lean is screening with Thai subtitles 1:30pm Dec. 22 at the Bangkok Screening Room.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sip on mulled wine and munch on stollen at Goethe’s German Christmas Market in the city, to be held from 4pm to 10pm on Dec. 7, and 4pm to 8pm on Dec. 8 at the Goethe-Institut Thailand in Sathorn Soi 1.

Fifty booths, including one run by the German embassy, will be selling German and international food, and there will be workshops for kids and adults alike to bake vanilla crescents and make Christmas decorations out of upcycled trash. There’ll also be a second-hand flea market. Talk about being red and green! 

RIS Swiss Section, a German school in Bangkok, will also hold their German Christmas market from 2pm to 10:30pm on Dec. 18. Food, kid workshop, performances, Satna, and a raffle

But for the French in Bangkok, Christmas comes early this year – stock up on French gifts, food, and wine at the Marché de Noël on Dec. 12 to 15 at Siam Paragon. Visitors who spend up to 2,000 baht will have a chance to win a free round trip ticket to France.

Did we miss any amazingly merry events? Let us know in the comments, or drop us an email to spread that cheer!