In a play on the old Deanna Durbin song “Love is Where You Find it”….as you travel around the world, Christmas is also where you find it.
Definitely, one expects to find Christmas in countries with a Christian tradition. As Christmas has become more and more of a secular holiday, you’ll even find celebrations and blockbuster holiday decorations in countries with other religious traditions.
Malaysia – A Kuala Lumpur Christmas
I was in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago and saw no sign of Christmas (nor did I expect to see it). Suddenly, on December 1st, Christmas decorations went up in malls stores and streets all over the city, transforming it into a Christmas fairyland.
Here is a very elaborate Christmas display that I saw at the Pavilion KL shopping centre across the street from my hotel. It was so spectacular that I had to capture it on film.
As a Jamaican, I found it kind of cool that they included a traditional Jamaican Christmas carol in the musical mix.
I chatted with a number of Malaysians who told me that many Malaysians are going all out and decorating stores, homes and lawns with elaborate Christmas displays. This has been a recent trend and it is growing. Two years ago, one mall delighted oshoppers by making is snow. Take a peek.
When I was at Pavilion KL, I ran into a visitor from Australia. He asked “Have you seen the Gingerbread House at the Grand Millenium Hotel yet?” I headed over there and found this life-size gingerbread house straight out of Hansel and Gretel. Yes, that’s real gingerbread.
Now I’ve never seen that in Toronto…but wait, more surprises are in store.
Christmas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Last Wednesday (December 14, 2011), when I checked into the Mayden Hotel in Dubai, there was an even bigger surprise. Yes an even bigger gingerbread house, also with real gingerbread.
My stay was too short to visit any malls but there were Christmas decorations and a number of elaborate Christmas trees at the airport.
Fortunately, others captured Christmas the magic at Dubai malls for your viewing pleasure including what has got to be the tallest Christmas tree in the world.
Toyko, Japan (Ginza)
Another country with a religious tradition other than Christian has a number of Christmas celebrations including German Christmas markets. This year, a store in the heart of Ginza has gone all out this year with a golden Christmas tree…pure gold that is.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Finally, also in the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Palace Hotel had the world’s most expensive Christmas tree last year trimmed with over $11 Million worth of jewelry.
Talk about going all out for Christmas. I guess that’s what happens when Christmas becomes a secular holiday.
So next year, if you’re looking for a special place to take your team for a pre-Christmas incentive trip, you’ll find Christmas in more places than you can imagine.