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As in many other parts of the world, Santa Claus in Malaysia sports his usual red coat. It may be of the all-weather wool variety, however, given Malaysia's proximity to the equator. While a white Christmas might be prevalent elsewhere, in Malaysia it is bursting with color. Here in the tropics, Christmas is a spectacle of brilliant lights and pageantry. Celebrations begin early in the month of December and con- tinue throughout the whole month. Certainly the traditional colors abound, but bright decorations adorn trees, enhanced with an Asian and Pacific Rim influence. Christmas parties are held by most hotels with the appearance of Santa Claus bringing cheer to children and adults alike. Giggling children will whisper in Santa's ear, as they do else- where, giving him a list of wishes for toys and treats. As is customary in Malaysia during festivals, families may entertain guests in their homes throughout the day, in adherence to the concept of "rumah terbuka" or "open house". This practice makes the celebration more meaningful and in line with the spirit of the season. Gifts will be placed under the showy trees, exchanged by family members on Christmas Day. A festive spirit abounds.
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