How Christmas is celebrated in the world’s most remote regions

WASHINGTON — More than two billion people celebrate Christmas, and even in some of the most remote and loneliest corners of the world, holiday cheer finds a way.

Here’s a look at how Christmas is being celebrated on some of the most far-flung and oft-forgotten regions, from desolate islands to the frozen wilderness.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica Population: Winter 45, summer 150 Coordinates: 89°59′51.19″S 139°16′22.41″E — about as far south as it gets. People of the world, rejoice: There’s a Santa hat sitting on the South Pole today, the furthest place on Earth from Santa’s workshop. Unlike the Arctic this time of year, Christmas falls in the perpetually-lit dog days of summer for the world’s southernmost continent, bringing temperatures to a nice, toasty -15 degrees on average for researchers at the American-run station.
Ascension Island, British overseas territory Population: 800 Coordinates: 7°56′S 14°25′W, South Atlantic Ocean (Map) “We live on a rock, but the poor people of Ascension live on a cinder,” wrote the late naturalist Charles Darwin, quoting the residents of nearby St. Helena poking fun at their lesser-known neighboring island in 1836. Over a century later, society on this tree-less island largely revolves around a British air base and facilities for tracking rocket launches. This year, the territory’s small police force pulled Santa around the island on a sleigh.
International Space Station Population: 3, at time of writing. Coordinates: Above your head, zooming in orbit at roughly 5 miles per second. For astronauts Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques and Oleg Kononenko — American, Canadian and Russian, respectively — it’s the trip of a lifetime on Christmas. Good luck keeping those hats on in micro-gravity! Tuesday also marked the 50th anniversary of the journey back to Earth for the Apollo 8 mission — the first Christmas humans spent in space.
St. Helena, British overseas territory Population: 4,500 Coordinates: 15°56′S 05°43′W, South Atlantic Ocean (Map) One of the most remote islands in the world, Saint Helena earned its place in the history books when Napoleon was exiled there by the British following his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. This year, a tightly-knit community of Saint Helenians celebrated the holiday season with their annual festival of lights in the island’s historic village, Jamestown. St. Helena is so isolated that its Christmas cargo had to be ordered three months in advance to arrive in time for the holidays.
Pacific Islands Australian, Japanese and American forces banded together for the 67th annual Operation Christmas Drop — a mass airlift of supplies to storm-stricken, remote Pacific islands. Santa hat-wearing airmen pushed donation boxes on parachutes out of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft earlier this month, Stars and Stripes reported, bringing storm relief from food to clothes and toys to an estimated 30,000 people across 56 tropical islands.

Thanks to some coordinated efforts with U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, Santa and his elves have made some rounds through six remote Alaskan communities in the annual #SantatotheVillages program. 🎅🏻🎁

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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