European and American Christmas is a bit different to Christmas in countries like Australia and New Zealand. This is because December is summer in Southern hemisphere places like Australia and New Zealand. In London and New York you are more likely to see wintry objects like a fire-place; a snowman and a sleigh. However, people in most countries celebrate Christmas by going to church; singing or listening to Christmas carols and by exchanging presents with family and friends.
Christmas in Australia.
In Sydney or Perth, you’ll usually see people spending Christmas at the beach or in a park. In Melbourne, extra carriages are added to the train going from Melbourne to the seaside town of Warrnambool. People take advantage of the free Christmas Day transport service. The day after Christmas day is called Boxing Day. It’s also a public holiday. On this day, many people relax and recover from the excitement and preparation of Christmas by watching Test cricket on TV.
Some Christmas Vocabulary
angel; Bethlehem; candle; carol; chimney; Christ; Christmas; Christmas Eve; church; cracker; holly; Father Christmas (Santa); Jesus; Mary; present; reindeer; shepherd; sleigh; turkey; Boxing Day
Christmas in Japan
December 25th is not a national holiday in Japan. However, December 23rd, (which is the birthdate of the Emperor), is a public holiday. Christmas in Japan is more commercial than religious.
Japanese people celebrate Christmas Eve by eating a ‘Christmas Cake’ which the father of the family usually purchases on his way home from work. In recent years, mainly through the influence of KFC (fast food company Kentucky Fried Chicken), the Christmas Chicken Dinner has become quite popular in Japan.
Christmas in Japan seems to be closer to the Western idea of Valentine’s Day.
Christmas here is quite romantic and presents are especially given to girl-friends and boy-friends. However, because Christmas is nearly the end of the year. presents are also given between companies, to bosses, to teachers, and family friends. These presents are known as ‘Oseibo’.
Around Christmas time at izakaya (Japanese-style restaurants) you will find company groups, hobby groups, sports groups, etc. having drinking parties, known as ‘bonenkai‘ [forget the old year parties]. For more mature people, many hotels present dinner shows featuring major singers, actors, and actresses.
The Japanese New Year’s holidays (called oshogatsu) are closer to the Western Christmas idea of gathering together family and friends.
Kanji Loop Atwell, Perth Christmas Lights