Christmas Island is a small slice of paradise that sits in the Indian Ocean about a 1000 miles off the northwest coast of Australia. In fact, it's owned by Australia.
With around 2,000 residents comprised of Chinese, Australian, Malay, English, Irish, and roughly 40 percent listed as "other" in terms of ethnicity, it's one of the smallest yet most diverse places on the planet.
The island is well-known for its biodiversity, and ecotourism is a big draw for visitors. Caves, beaches, and jungles are all part of the landscape, and the annual breeding migration of the famous Christmas Island red crabs is a popular event.
But why is it called Christmas Island?
Because of a guy named William Mynors.
Though the island was first spotted by Europeans in 1615, Captain Mynors sailed the Royal Mary past the island on Christmas Day in 1643 as part of the expeditions of the English East India Company. As a result, he named it Christmas Island, and though others tried to give it different names in the ensuing years, Christmas Island stuck. Today, it's kind of a mythical place many of us think about during the holidays, and it found its way onto my all-time favorite Xmas setlist.
Maybe some day, we'll all say, Merry Christmas from Christmas Island.