Christmas in Japan and Christmas Overseas -- They're Different!?

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yukobow illustration

Dec 01 ,2017

Once December rolls around in Japan, the Christmas season begins.
Everyone starts buying Christmas presents, making restaurant reservations, and going out to see Christmas lights... it's a very busy time.
Christmas in Japan may sound similar to how the rest of the world celebrates Christmas, but it is actually slightly different.
Let's take a look at some of those differences!

1. Who do you spend Christmas with?
Japan: Those with significant others will probably go out on a nice date.
Overseas: Most spend a relaxing day with their family or friends at a house party.

2. What's it like in the city?
Japan: Stores are open on Christmas. You'll see lots of people out and about, which means most businesses see decent profits.
Overseas: Most stores are closed on Christmas, with urban centers being relatively quiet as a result.

3. What do you eat?
Japan: Usually decorated Christmas cakes and fried or roasted chicken.
Overseas: Baked goods like simple butter cookies or cakes, with turkey, lamb, or fish as the main course.

4. What about presents?
Japan: Most gifts will be something relatively expensive or fancy to celebrate the special day.
Overseas: Gifts are usually not very pricey, and you'll exchange them with your relatives at a Christmas party.

5. How do presents for kids work?
Japan: It's normal for kids to find one present "from Santa" placed near their beds for them to open on the morning of the 25th.
Overseas: Kids tend to get a bunch of presents, and not just from Santa. The number of presents under the Christmas tree seems to grow with each passing day leading up to Christmas. Then, they all get opened on the 25th.

6. What happens after Christmas...?
Japan: After Christmas day (12/25) has passed, people will clean their houses and take down decorations in preparation for the New Year.
Overseas: Some people tend to leave their decorations up until the New Year, even though Christmas is technically over.

Well what do you think?
Japanese people love to celebrate things. It's possible Christmas is now a sort of excuse for us to celebrate the Winter season. Once Christmas is over, there's a flurry of activity leading up to the New Year in the remaining days of December.

With all of the people running around frantically to get things done, December is also called Shiwasu in Japanese, which is one way to say bustling. Yuko-chan's gonna be pretty busy wondering what her one Christmas present will be!

We hope you have a wonderful December, and a bright and shiny New Year!

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