Thailand is a country that is 95% Buddhist so understandably Christmas is not a large celebration here. However the Thais do like a good holiday so around many of the popular tourist areas you will see Christmas decorations and in the shopping malls you will hear Christmas music.
To many of the Thais Christmas has no religious meaning at all and most don’t know the meaning of the Christmas decorations and can’t see the irony of having a snowman in a tropical country. So Christmas her is celebrated on a very superficial level with no real meaning to it. Wishing a Thai person here Merry Christmas will get you a puzzled look and is best avoided lest you cause them to lose face.
December is a very busy time in Bangkok and you will see the malls packed with local and tourist shoppers but not all of it is Christmas related. The New Years is a large holiday here and so much of the shopping you see in December is done for the big New Years party.
For some newly arrived expats your first Christmas here can be hard as there is very little Christmas spirit. If you are used to having a Christmas with lot of celebration with friend and family then Christmas here can be depressing. With all the activity and hype leading up to it December 25th is just another working day for many people.
For those looking to try and capture some of the Christmas spirit there are a number of Churches in Bangkok that will hold an English Christmas service.
Your best option for a Christmas dinner is to visit any of the large hotels along Sukhumvit Road. Many will have a Christmas buffet with prices ranging from 500 baht to over 3000 baht per person. Also many of the expat owned restaurant and bars will have a special Christmas dinner.
The holidays can be a depressing time for newly arrived expats with most of your friends and family being so far away. However there are many options available in the city and there is no reason to spend the time alone. Use the holidays as an excuse to start expanding your new life in Thailand and get out there and enjoy the tropical Christmas cheer!