One festive symbol everyone seems to love is the Christmas tree and sales of the artificial type are soaring here in Thailand.
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The ornamental giant Christmas tree in front of CentralWorld. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
Christmas festivities take root
Christmas trees are taking root in Buddhist Thailand.
Sales of one of the traditional symbols of the Christian festival are soaring as Thais join foreigners in the festivities.
''They apparently want to feel the atmosphere,'' said Srivitta Watsiriseree, a deputy managing director of Bangkok Christmas Decoration Export, which makes artificial Christmas trees.
She said her company had witnessed skyrocketing sales of Christmas trees in Thailand this year.
About 10,000 trees from 30cm to 12m tall have been sold for home and public display.
Christmas tree producers started to see a rise in demand for Christmas trees and decorations in Thailand about 15 years ago.
The tree in front of the Peninsula Bangkok Hotel, Charoen Nakhon Road. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
The growth of hypermarkets with large retail space helped spur domestic sales. Another factor is that artificial Christmas trees are relatively cheap in Thailand.
But not all Christmas trees can convey the genuine spirit of a holiday that was initially intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ but has been overtaken by commercialism.
Almost all the trees sold in Thailand are made from PVC and there is little demand for expensive, imported genuine trees apart from among very wealthy people or top-end hotel chains, said Ms Srivitta.
In the United States, which imports many artificial trees from Thailand, an environmental debate is ongoing over the benefit of real Christmas trees. Supporters say they leave a smaller carbon footprint because they are not made from plastic or shipped from abroad.
However, this does not take into account the fact that artificial trees do not have to be replaced every year.
Should Thais feel even a twinge of guilt about celebrating what has become known as a Christian holiday but which started off as a pagan winter festival?
Ms Srivitta thinks we should just relax and enjoy the holiday.
''Christmas is widely known as a time of celebration and a fun time at the end of the year. People don't bother trying to find a real tree because an artificial Christmas tree can help us jazz up our homes and create a festive atmosphere,'' she said.
ornamental – used as decoration rather than for a practical purpose ที่ใช้ประดับ
festivities – the parties, meals and other social activities with which people celebrate a special occasion การเฉลิมฉลอง
take root – to start to be accepted เริ่มมีผล, เริ่มได้ผล
traditional – things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี
symbol – someone or something that represents a particular idea or quality สัญลักษณ์
festival – an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity เทศกาล
soar – to rise very quickly to a high level มีความหวังสูง,พุ่งพรวดขึ้น
apparently – based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly ตามที่ได้รู้มา
atmosphere – the mood or feeling that exists in a place บรรยากาศ
deputy – a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง
decoration – a thing that makes something look more attractive on special occasions เครื่องประดับ
export – the selling and transporting of goods to another country สินค้าออก, การส่งสินค้าออกไปต่างประเทศ
artificial – made by people instead of being something natural ที่ประดิษฐ์ขึ้น
witness – to see something happen – มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
skyrocket – to increase very quickly ลอยขึ้นสูงอย่างฉับพลัน
display – to put something in a particular place so that people can see it easily โชว์, แสดง
demand – the amount of a product or service that people want ความต้องการ
hypermarket – a very large supermarket, usually built outside a town, that sells a wide range of goods ห้างสรรพสินค้า
retail – selling directly to the public for their own use ขายปลีก
spur – to cause something to happen ก่อให้เกิด
domestic – inside the country being talked about ภายในประเทศ
factor – a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
relatively – somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar ค่อนข้าง
cheap – costing little money or less money than you expected ถูก
convey – to communicate something; to express a thought, feeling or idea so that it is understood by other people สื่อไปถึง, สื่อสาร
genuine – real, honest แท้
initially – at first ในเบื้องต้น
intended – planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
overtake – to become greater in number, amount or importance than something else ตามทัน, ไล่ตามทัน
commercialism – the fact of being more interested in making money than in the value or quality of things หลักการหรือวิธีการพานิชย์,ลัทธิการค้าเพื่อหวังผลกำไร,ลักษณะพ่อค้า
PVC – Polyvinyl chloride, a widely used plastic
wealthy – having a large amount of money, land, and other valuable things ที่มั่งคั่ง ร่ำรวย
environmental – involving the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them เกี่ยวกับสภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
debate – a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject การอภิปราย, การโต้วาที, การถกเถียง
ongoing – continuing อย่างต่อเนื่อง
benefit – an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help ผลประโยชน์
carbon footprint – the set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released by something, the production of something, etc.
abroad – in or to a foreign country ในต่างประเทศ
take into account – to consider; to think carefully about the various factors involved before making a decision or developing an opinion พิจารณา, คิดอย่างละเอียด
replace – to put a new thing in the place of something old เลิกใช้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
twinge – a sudden short feeling of an unpleasant emotion; a sudden short feeling of pain อาการที่สะดุ้งวับขึ้น, อาการปวดเสียว
guilt – the unhappy feelings caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something wrong ความรู้สึกผิด, ความสำนึก
pagan – of a person or group who hold religious beliefs that are not part of any of the world's main religions พวกนอกศาสนา, คนนอกศาสนา
bother – to spend time and/or energy doing something ทำให้ตัวเองยุ่งยาก, ยุ่งกับ
jazz up – to make something more interesting, exciting or attractive ทำให้น่าสนใจ, ทำให้สนุกสนาน, ทำให้กระตือรือร้น
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