I haven’t been home for Christmas in close to 10 years.
My family doesn’t really “do” Christmas, so I’m not missing much. But the above statement seems to horrify a lot of people! I think if you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you have gained knowledge that Christmas is sometimes just another day.
The last few years in Roatan I spent Christmas working, just like any other day. Imagine all those people coming down on their winter vacation and being told there’s no diving on Christmas day so the staff could enjoy Christmas…! I don’t think that would fly.
This year, I’m living in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. This seems to be shocking to people but I’m not sure why. Christians only make up about 1% of the population in Japan. The rest of the people are either Shinto or Buddhist, so obviously they don’t do Christmas. While some holiday traditions have seeped in from the West in the last 50 or so years, they get a bit mixed up here since people don’t have the background or beliefs that are more prominent in the west. KFC started a campaign about having “Kentucky for Christmas”, and now people here eat special KFC Christmas chicken buckets to celebrate. More than a few Japanese people have told me this is what they think Americans do for Christmas (filing that under “WTF JAPAN”).
Christmas here is also a romantic day to go on a date. (Uhhhh? Ok?) And it’s definitely NOT a holiday. This year it fell on a weekend – otherwise I would have been at work on Christmas Day. But as an expat who hasn’t had a “proper” Christmas in years, it doesn’t really bother me.
I enjoyed my Christmas weekend by not getting out of my PJs for the entire two days, cooking a roast chicken dinner, playing Christmas tunes on Spotify and watching all my favorite Christmas movies. I was by myself but it was great!
My #1 favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone, so I watched that on Christmas morning and had some pudding with a cute Santa label on it. Merry Christmas!
Now I’m back at work this week and gearing up for my big New Years trip – in Japan, New Years is the big family holiday where people get time off work and businesses are closed for a few days. I’m headed to Seoul, South Korea for 5 days and I can’t wait to see a new country and be in a big city for a while.
Happy holidays from Japan!
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