Christmas in Japan ( and a bit about the UK)

Christmas is my favourite holiday, I don’t like Halloween, and Easter means nothing to me. I am all about Christmas.

Christmas in the UK is probably quite similar to the States, Australia and many other western countries. How it’s celebrated differs from family to family but mostly has the same theme. Spending time with the family and lots of merriment.

My family celebrates Xmas on Christmas day, where we wake up open stocking presents and then the ones under the tree while listening to Xmas music. Afterwards, we start to prepare and cook Christmas dinner, for starters we have a prawn cocktail, then the main, followed by a simple dessert if we have space. But often we eat the dessert hours after we’ve finished the main or skip it completely. No one in my family likes Christmas pudding, so we never have it. It is too stodgy in my opinion. After dinner, we’ll settle down to watch a movie together and digest all our food.

UK Christmas photos from 2013.










My sister’s cat (orange) really likes the Christmas tree, apparently he destroys it every year :O. Where as my cat (grey) is just far too old for that shit.

Christmas in Japan

Being that Japan is not a Christian country, Christmas here is understandably kind of different from how it is in the UK. My friend Mike, always tells me “Christmas is what you make it”.

Christmas in Japan is for children and couples. How so? In that Christmas Eve is THE big day for couples, who will make plans months in advance. It’s bigger than Valentine’s day, that’s some good marketing.

And only children will get a gift on Christmas Day and then head off to school. Yes, they have school on Christmas day, unless they live in a prefecture that starts their winter holiday earlier.

Some families will eat KFC chicken buckets on Christmas Day, often reserving their buckets weeks in advance. And Christmas cake is a strawberry shortcake, :O instead of the traditional fruit cake we get in the UK.

My first Christmas here, I just ended up not doing anything Christmassy at all. I studied at Starbucks in the morning, watched a movie, Skyped my family and then went for dinner and a cocktail at TGI Fridays with my friend. The following year, I went back to the UK.

So finally this year, sort of felt like my first proper Christmas really. I had work which is usually rather unfortunate but, well I like work and I like my colleagues. We ended up having a pizza party, drinking mulled wine and eating donuts.

As Christmas approached, I set out to make mine and Ksk’s Japanese Xmas, that little bit more magical and special.






I think the thing I find most difficult (besides being away from your family) about spending Christmas here is how Christmas Day is just a regular normal day. In the UK most people are at home with their families and the roads are mostly quiet. In Japan, you will just see people going to work, regular traffic, nothing special whatsoever. And then even before Xmas is over, they take down all the Xmas decorations or shop displays. It’s as if Christmas never happened.

While I understand christmas is not a holiday to Japanese people, it’s still one of the hardest part for me.

However, New Years in Japan is kinda like Christmas, in that people get together with their families, eat food, watch tv, visit a shrine and the children get envelopes filled with money. I look forward to experiencing my first proper Japanese New Year, this year. Preferably without Osechi though, as I dislike Japanese pickled foods.

Anyways, the purpose of this post was to showcase some of the Christmassy things I found over the last month.







And finally the fabulous Christmas dinner, I had.


How do you celebrate Christmas in your country?

Thank you for reading,




Add yours →

  1. It made me laugh so much when I found out that people in Japan eat KFC for Christmas 🙂 but I suppose people in Japan might find it strange that we eat what we eat! I haven’t been feeling so Christmassy this year, I should have come to Japan 🙂

    Dannie x


    • I still can’t get over it, lol. Feels like a travesty to me, but each to their own. As long as no one try to get me to eat KFC on Xmas, we’ll be fine.

      Aw, nah it’s not really very christmassy here to be honest, it looks like in on the surface but it completely lacks the true essence of xmas :(. I hope you have a good xmas thou :).


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