With the holiday season fast approaching– it’s time for panic!
For those in relationships: What should we do on Christmas eve?
For those who are single: How can I get a parter in time for Christmas eve?
Christmas in Japan is a time for love, and a time for couples. Christmas traditions have been imported from the West, and all of the familiar festivities are all around Japan. Shopping, Christmas lights, decorations, seasonal treats– But why is it considered romantic?
Christmas in Japan has none of the religious connotations it has in Western countries, in fact, Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan. Unless it falls on a weekend that year, most people will be working both Christmas eve and Christmas day!
So while people in Western countries may take the whole two days, or longer, to relax and recharge with their families, Japanese people can only celebrate in the evenings after work. And what do you do in the evenings? Go on a date!
Of course, families will still celebrate Christmas with their young children, but the vast majority of Christmas marketing is geared towards couples.
Christmas has become such a big deal for couples in fact, that it rivals Valentines Day and White Day!
So, how can you plan the perfect Christmas date for your special someone?
#1 Plan Early!
As Christmas is the busiest time of year for couples, if you are hoping to get a table at a romantic restaurant– or even a delicious Christmas bucket of KFC, make sure you plan early!
Make your reservations weeks, or even months ahead of time if you can. Plan for big crowds, and busy trains. Check your partner’s schedule, double check your own schedule, make sure everything is laid out ahead of time to avoid any surprises the day of.
#2 Give a Meaningful Gift
Gift exchanges are common for couples at this time of year, and finding that perfect gift is key. Since Christmas is so heavily marketed as a romantic holiday, jewelry has become an almost-expected gift for women- and stores will be pushing their products with outrageous sales and offers.
But take into consideration what your partner may like when selecting a gift. While jewelry may seem “expected” based on advertising, think of something unique and original that they can enjoy for years to come. What does your partner enjoy? What is their style or their hobbies? No one wants a situation when she’s comparing gifts with her coworker and it turns out she got the exact same bracelet– Don’t get lazy with gift-giving!
#3 Get Festive (Seriously!)
For many Japanese people, the Christmas date can be make-or-break in a relationship. If someone doesn’t take the date serious enough, their partner can feel disappointed or let down.
There is a lot of societal pressure to have a great time on Christmas, and many people expect their partner to go the extra mile while planning their Christmas date.
There are so many great events going on at this time of year, it’s hard not to find something great to do. Christmas is also a great time to try something new or to go the extra mile in planning your date!
Try a new restaurant, explore a new part of town and enjoy the illumination, go to a theme park, or take romantic stroll through a Christmas market. Stay ‘in the spirit’ as they say, and try to plan a date that incorporates the holiday.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, you can even have a romantic home-date! Cook a meal for your partner and exchange gifts, watch a Christmas movie and drink hot cocoa, there are countless things you can do to make the day seem special for your partner.
#4 Don’t Forget the Cake!
Christmas cake is a must-have on Christmas eve, and marks the end of a successful holiday season. Christmas cake in Japan is typically a white cake with cream and fresh strawberries, but all different varieties can be found. Christmas cakes are sold everywhere, from the most expensive bakeries and department stores to your local 7-11.
Even if you are planning on going with the conbini cake, make sure you place an order ahead of time. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to pick one up the day of! In fact, most companies will put out their Christmas cake ordering guide as early as October!
With all of that in mind, good luck! Nows the time to start planning the perfect Christmas date for your special someone.
Christmas in Japan is always a lot of fun, and though it can feel strange to not follow the same traditions as back home, there are so many wonderfully fun new traditions to take in and make your own. Whether this is your first Christmas in Japan, or your a Christmas date expert– There’s always something new to see and do this time of year!
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