How do people spend Christmas in Japan? Even if you've never been to Japan before, you've probably seen and heard a lot of videos and podcasts from individuals about their daily lives. Therefore, rather than focusing on specific plans and goods for Christmas, this article will introduce the situation and perception of Christmas and normative Christmas activities in Japan.
Is it a holiday in Japan?
Christmas is not a public holiday in Japan and many people spend it in the same way as on a weekday. For this reason, we have plenty of convenience-focused options for Christmas. It has long been known that the Japanese people eat Kentucky Fried Chicken at Christmas, but in fact, Kentucky's limited edition Christmas sets are large and require advance booking. Prepared food from convenience stores is more convenient for those who celebrate Christmas on the side.
On Christmas Day, you usually find staff wearing Santa hats and reindeer ears selling cakes and chicken in front of convenience stores. Each slice of cake is individually packed, so you don't have to worry about having too many if you live alone. You can find most Christmas items at 100 yen shops, including cards, costumes, gift wrapping, home decorations, ornaments, etc. 100 yen shops are everywhere and open until late, so you can pop in after work. It's also handy if you need to buy something you forgot to buy.
So how is Christmas celebrated?
We usually decorate the house with a tree and a wreath, play Christmas songs, and serve cake, drumsticks, and non-alcoholic champagne.
Food can be homemade or bought from a supermarket or department store. Before and after the meal, we pop the poppers, sing, play board games, and have fun together. Once children have gone to bed and fallen asleep, parents place the Christmas presents at the bedside.
What might be different is that Japanese children generally receive one present each. But Children, as a pre-Christmas activity, write to Santa Clause to request a gift. This year it is also popular to buy an advent calendar for children to enjoy.
Christmas could be a dating day. Couples eat out and enjoy a drink in a hotel or bar. Unlike the family Christmas, fashion items and accessories are chosen as gifts, which is perhaps a similar concept to Valentine's Day. Many other outdoor events also take place at this time of year, such as Christmas markets and concerts. Christmas markets in Japan are not as large as those in Europe, but they sell sweets, drinks, and goods that are not familiar to Japanese people, so there is plenty for families and friends to enjoy.
Is Christmas in Japan changing?
We used to purchase a lot for Christmas, but in recent years consumers' values have changed. From an environmental point of view, people are becoming more critical of mass production and disposable goods. With fewer opportunities for large gatherings and fewer couples with children, more and more people consider such events to be a hassle. As a result, there is a growing interest in simpler ways of celebrating, such as online drinking parties. At these events, there is not always food or activities that are unique to Christmas. This kind of change can also be seen in the way other holidays are celebrated. For example, there is a traditional New Year's meal called "お節料理(せちりょうり)", but nowadays, some families replace it with foreign cuisines such as French or Korean food because they find it boring or don't like the taste. It's also common for couples and families to argue over what they want to eat on New Year’s Day. In the future, personal ideas and circumstances may take precedence over tradition.
How is Christmas in Japan different from Christmas in your country? Are there any similarities? How do you think Christmas will change in the future? Please also consider the reasons and factors behind them. Then, if possible, discuss with your teacher in a lesson. The way Japanese people spend Christmas varies from person to person, so you may get some completely unexpected opinions. We are still going through a difficult time this year, but whether you have plans or not, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas!