Christmas at The Content Castle
It might not have been snowing, nor did a jolly fat man come down a chimney in the middle of the night—thankfully—but hallelujah, there was cheese! So much cheese! We had blue cheese, and black goats cheese, and cheddar cheese. We ate it all then fell into a cheese coma cradling a box of red wine (yes, a box). Christmas at the Castle was fabulous. Rivaling Mariah Carey, Savannah belted out a number or two while making the stuffing, and Kaye was snapchatting her friends about the delights of this year’s festivities. And the rest? Read on.
Christmas Eve-Eve: Yes, It’s A Thing
Have you ever been Christmas shopping for a family of 10? Let me start again. Have you ever been Christmas shopping for a family of 10, from multi-nationalities, various ages, on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand? Thought not. With a list as long as the bamboo poles sticking out the back of trucks, we all ran around the island acquiring necessities such as crackers (or ‘biscuits’), mulled wine spices, wrapping paper, and Santa hats. All of which turned out to be almost impossible tasks. Imagine gold sparkly paper that feels like worn-soft sandpaper and refuses to be stuck down like opposite ends of a magnet. Think of Santa hats which are supposed to have actual working LED lights and, imagine, there were no single servings cinnamon sticks, or star anise, or cloves. Just imagine.
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
There had been much talk about the day ahead, and we had been cooking up a storm in the kitchen. There was homemade no-bake lime cheesecake—emphasis on no-bake since, like most of Thailand, we don’t own an oven—duck breasts marinating in American exported Ziplock bags (it’s a big thing) and a shrimp cocktail with shrimp peeled personally by our loving manager. We also had the best charcuterie board. Class my friends, class!
One by one we rose from our slumber and Cici’s dad (she’s the house manager and he’s kind of like, the grandfather to the Castle) grandpa Jack—made us his specialty: Omelettes. “No, I’m not making you a white omelette Savannah,” he said. “It’s Christmas and you’re going to have a proper one.” No complaints. Then he whipped out the eggnog that had been chilling from the night before, and we all asked for seconds on the ultra-indulgent, high-fat no-guilt, spiced beverage. As we sipped from our Christmas themed paper cups (shout out to Jake’s mom), we took turns to retrieve a gift from under the tree and began our “Secret Santa” exchange. Travel sized Jenga, a ‘wreck it journal’, and a miniature pool table emerged, and a bag of Thai treats was stolen from one resident, poor guy.
We’re on an island, in the Gulf of Thailand. Shiva Beach Club is a favourite of the Castle’s. A 10-minute drive and you’re at the picture perfect picture white sandy beach with shallow waters. The resort has an in-pool bar and plush bean-bag chairs to sink into. Soaking up the Christmas rays, we chatted, we laughed. Did you know the Philippines start celebrating Christmas on the first of September? Or that the English celebrate ‘Boxing Day’ on the 26th? We laughed and guffawed some more. We discovered were really terrible at volleyball–except for the two pros in the house. It was the perfect afternoon.
It was a feast alright. The table was set and the candle was lit, and a few drops of saliva hit the ground as we all took our places. Salmon roll-ups and fried chicken to start, followed by pan-fried duck breast and creamy mashed potatoes. All finished off with a big slice of cheesecake.
Christmas in paradise may not be the same as Christmas at home. But when you’re surrounded by good people, good cheer, and obscene amounts of food, Christmas is “home”, no matter where you are.