Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan, nor a widely observed religious holiday, but it is celebrated nonetheless in its own unique way. Here’s some data that highlights Christmas in Japan.
No. 1: For Many, It’s a Romantic Thing
In much of the Western world, Christmas is primarily a family affair. In Japan, many people see Christmas as an opportunity to spend time with a spouse or partner.
According to a November 2017 survey conducted by Rakuten Research, 45.5% of respondents said they plan to spend time with their significant other. That’s far more than the 25.7% who said they planned to spend time with their children.
Only 7.0% saw Christmas as a day to spend with their parents.
No. 2: It’s Not About the Gifts
The same survey found that the expectation of gifts is hardly universal.
More than one-third said they didn’t particularly want a gift for Christmas. (People in their 20s were more likely to want something, though.)
For those who did have a wish, “dining out” was the most common choice, selected by 8.7% of respondents.
No. 3: The Guys Are Picking Up the (Larger) Tab
According to Rakuten, spending on gifts averages about $83. Men on average spend considerably more than women—about $96 vs. $71.
But that spending pales beside American gift budgets. According to the National Retail Federation, US consumers expect to spend more than $578 apiece on gifts this year.
No. 4: You Probably Wouldn’t Be Surprised by Kids’ Wish Lists
A study from toymaker Bandai found that the most-wanted gifts among children in Japan are gaming software (12.5%), plush dolls/action figures (12.0%), toy cars (6.9%), character costumes and wearables (6.6%), and gaming devices (6.6%).
Parents’ shopping lists for their kids weren't all that different, except that the lists included educational toys (10.8%). Other than that, the items parents expected to buy were right in line with the things kids were hoping for.
No. 5: Parents Are Buying More
Kids should be pleased by the Christmas spending trends, Bandai found. According to its survey, parents have increased budgets for kids’ presents to about $65, higher than in previous years.