My first Christmas season in Japan has been wonderful. Even here, the stores put up Christmas decorations and change the in-store music to carols way too early. If I’m remembering correctly, the Christmas season has been going on since the second or third week of November. And I admit I love it.
Japan’s Christian population is negligible; with those that are religious overwhelmingly identifying as either Buddhist or Shinto. With that in mind, Christmas is a decidedly secular holiday here. The Japanese have adopted the tradition of Christmas and made it their own. Back in the 1970s, KFC (yes, that Kentucky Fried Chicken) ran an ad campaign called “Kentucky for Christmas” and ever since Christmas Day has been synonymous with eating fried chicken with your family or significant other. And sometime after that, eating plain white cake with white frosting topped with strawberry slices became the go-to dessert. It’s also popular to dress up and visit the Disney theme parks for the evening.
Last Friday, we hosted a dinner for some of our close friends. We had Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry jam. It was so, so good. With that, I made mulled wine which is the perfect wintery drink to keep you warm. I had a lot of fun decorating our table. How do you think it turned out?
This year we bought a fake Christmas tree that came with a tree skirt, lights, ornaments, garland, and a tree topper. I also ordered a string of lights that we’ve hung from our curtain rod giving our living room a starry glow. And last but not least, a chocolate advent calendar.
My husband had work today. By now, we will have opened our stockings at breakfast and we’ll do presents after our fried chicken dinner.
How are you celebrating Christmas this year? Are you working? Getting to together with friends or family? At home? On vacation? Safe travels to everyone and Merry Christmas!