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This time of year I am always amazed that, far more than the large-scale holiday activities, it is the unexpected moments of quiet joy that embody the feeling of Christmas. Tonight, walking home from work in the early December darkness that settles in even in steamy Bangkok, I found myself caught up in sentimental happiness. There was nothing particularly striking about this evening’s commute, but December is here and with it comes the reminder that there is something to celebrate and much for which to be thankful.

Although the Western-style Christmas decorations look a bit out of place in Thailand, there are dazzling lights flashing away on every street. Thais celebrate their own festive events throughout December, including the birthday of His Majesty the King this weekend (his 84th birthday to be exact – a highly auspicious one, or so I am told) and Constitution Day next weekend. There will be lights and fireworks, events and decorations. And though I recognize it is not all in the name of the holiday I celebrate this month, I am no less drawn in by the shared sense of fun and the community of celebration that surrounds us all.

Whatever December means for you, I hope you too are finding ways to celebrate and catching yourself in moments of quiet joy.

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. I am enjoying my “moment” every morning in our condo. Although it’s 90 degrees and sunny outside, its crazy Christmas inside our condo. I borrowed a tree from our Trini friends – have pine candle that burns non-stop and I’m pretty sure my husband is worried I might burn down the condo with the never turning off the christmas lights issue I have. What can i say – I love this time of year! I love even more that I will be soooooo tan in my Christmas pictures! 🙂
    xoxo from Trinidad

  2. I know exactly what you mean. I had a little ‘moment’ when I was walking this morning. The weather was so wonderful and I was excited.
    Also had it while baking cookies last night and listening to Christmas carols!