Christmas in Japan is different compared to other countries, since Japan has very few Christians it is not a religious holiday. Christmas eve is about being with your significant other and exchanging gifts. Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan so most stores are open. Christmas is for couples, New Years is for families in Japan.
Photo Credit: KFC Japan
After a successful campaign by KFC in the 1970s, it is now a tradition to eat KFC on Christmas eve or day. Many of the stores take reservations months in advance. Another popular food is to eat on Christmas is Christmas cake. The cake is usually a rolled white sponge cake decorated with vanilla or chocolate frosting.
Christmas became popular in Japan after the commercialization of the holiday. The media portrayed it as a time to spend with your significant other, walk around town to see the Christmas decorations, and exchange gifts. Friends, families, and couples have Christmas parties. It is seen as crucial for a girl to have a date or boyfriend on Christmas eve. Almost every part of Tokyo is illuminated with thousands of string lights. Couples like to walk around town because somehow it feels romantic. Couples exchange gifts, but it is usually only one gift because it is usually something expensive.
In North America, Christmas is seen as a religious holiday and a time to give back to people who have less. It is more of a time for families, while New Years is a time for friends. On Christmas day, families wake up early and open presents around the Christmas tree. People expect to get five to eight, or even more presents from one another.