John Carey at fiftyfootshadows.net sums it up nicely:
While the rest of the world I know back west anxiously gathers their wits in preparation for Christmas, I walk through the streets of a country where it feels more like a novelty, an afterthought, a coincidence. This has given me new point of view on the holiday as I usually know it. I have no tree in my living room, no presents to wrap, no frustration over having enough spare money around for gift giving or who I may forget in that process.
This is not to say I have no Christmas spirit. I love this time of year and the calmness it brings to family and community. I love the way it puts life on pause while we all take a collective sigh of relief, if not just for one day. Being away from the U.S. has given me a refocused perspective on what is so great about this time of year.