|About eighteen years ago, a close friend of mine wanted to flee from all this Christmas stress, and rather go away to visit all the friends they had made in Thailand, with no kind of celebration of neither newborns or capitalism ... He suggested this to his family (wife and two small girls), who rejoiced: They would love an end-of-year vacation with their friends. They have been there so many times that they had learned to speak some Thai, and use to live with the local population.
Gradually, my friend realized that his wife was planning to carry along a whole lot of Christmas stash and activities, to show their friends what Norwegian Christmas celebration is like - exactly what my friend wanted to flee from. So they started arguing, resulting in the Thailand plans being dropped.
I visited him the following summer, in 2005. He showed me photos from their last visit, in 2003, with the beach right next to where they used to live where his two little girls of 6 and 8 playing in the sand. If they had gone to Thailand for Christmas 2004, the girls might very well have running around on the same beach in the morning, 26th of December.
All their Thai friends survived, but their houses were washed away, including the one where my friend used to live with his family.