3 differences between Christmas in Japan and Switzerland

How do Japanese people celebrate Christmas?

Christmas in Japan is obviously different than in Switzerland. On social media I talked with many Japanese people about this holiday. It was very interesting to hear about the traditions in each country for each of us. Japanese people usually don’t know the historical background of Christmas Eve and Christmas. They usually mix different traditions from other countries together.

The “Christmas” food

It seems that the Christmas food is the most important part, because Japanese people mentioned it first and frequently. Maybe each Japanese family have their own tradition, like we do in Europe. Although Japan follows the American tradition they don’t cook big meals with lots of dishes and they usually don’t invite all distant relatives. Christmas is usually kept simple with fast-food from KFC, a cake and champagne.

‘Who gave us the presents?’

‘Santa Claus. He traveled from Finland to Japan just for you.’

Presents and Santa Claus

As a Swiss woman I am used to write cards and do handicrafts, but in Japan they often don’t write any cards for Christmas. The father sometimes dresses up like Santa Claus and puts the presents next to the pillow of his children. I also find it very interesting that public places are decorated and have big Christmas trees, but families usually just have a plastic tree at home.

Christmas is a dating day

I was really surprised when I was told that Christmas is more often used as a dating day or is only celebrated with children under ten years old. It is considered a day for couples. They usually have a nice dinner and give each other a present. It is also surprising that there are many proposals on that day. Honestly, I don’t find it romantic. Even the hotels and love hotels are often sold out during this season.

‘What do Japanese people do on Christmas?’

‘They have a romantic date .’

Christmas in general

The shopping malls in Japan are almost decorated like Swiss ones. The most used colors are green and red (red and gold in Switzerland). Famous Christmas songs are being played almost everywhere and shop windows are decorated with cute Santa Claus dolls. There are lots of clearance sales which attracts lots of people. On the other hand, there’s one downside: The Christmas day is a normal working day.

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