Christmas (X-mas, or Xmas)  Part II  True stories on Christmas in the US! (022103)

Since we thought that Christmas is so common all over the world, in December we decided to just
post pix relating to the Christmas holidays. However, we've noticed that some Japanese misunderstood what is going on in the US for Christmas.  We realize that Christmas was over about two months ago, but good stories are never too late.  Here is a description of Christmas in the US.

X-mas Day is the most exciting holiday for Americans.  The Holidays are a family event.  People may return home from far away to celebrate the Holidays with their family.  On the days leading up to X-mas Eve, there are often parties at work or at church.

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are busy.  People busily decorate both outside and inside their houses for X-mas.  Outside decorations include holiday lights, wreaths, swags, and garlands.  Inside decorations include X-mas trees, centerpieces, mistletoe, kissing balls, and X-mas crafts.  Decorations are often displayed until middle to late January.  People also make Christmas candy and cookies.  By X-mas Day, gift boxes are placed under the X-mas tree.  Stockings are hung by the fireplace, so they can be filled with “stocking stuffers” by Santa on X-mas Eve.  Kids may sit on Santa's lap at the shopping mall or write a letter *) to tell him what presents they would like him to deliver on X-mas Eve.

On X-mas Day, the kids check their stockings for small gifts.  Later everyone unwraps the boxes in front of the family.  Kids especially love to open the gifts.  Usually X-mas is good for kids and a time for parents to spend money.

Church is well decorated for this occasion. Christmas is when Christian Churches celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is a longer mass than usual. It is also the most attended mass (Easter is the 2nd most attended). It is wise to get to church early, otherwise all the seats may be taken and you may have to stand.  Some worshippers go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. This way they do not have to get up early on Christmas day.

Decorations: Stores and shopping malls decorate the exterior of the shops with wreaths.   Even medical clinics and cemeteries may be decorated by wreaths, swags, and X-mas trees.  Note: wreaths, swags, and garlands may be similar to kadomatsu (the New Year's pine decoration) in Japan.

X-mas dress codes: at home casual, at church casual to professional.  Note: Most young girls 20 years old or more in Japan wear "Hare-gi" (colorful and gorgeous kimono) which is very expensive.  It costs from $1,000 to $ 10,000, and the parents pay for it.   In the US they don't have such pricey dresses because they can't afford them.  Instead, they have gowns.

X-mas dinners: The Japanese think everyone eats a goose here.  In reality, people often eat ham or turkey.

X-mas dessert: X-mas candy, cookies, pies, and fruitcake.  Fruitcake is heavy and sweet bread containing candied fruits and nuts.

Traditional holiday plants: Poinsettias, holly boughs with berries.

*) In fact, kids really write to him: Santa Claus, The North Pole.   Inside story

Note 1: X-mas here corresponds to New Year's Day in
Japan, in our opinion.  New Year's Eve and New Year's Day may be similar to X-mas in Japan.  Some Japanese adults go to X-mas parties; sometimes they use confetti bombs, which are for New Year's Eve in the US.  Almost all Japanese families have X-mas cakes looking like a birthday cake with candles; cake stores, especially department stores, sell a lot of X-mas cakes.  I don't know where the idea of X-mas cakes came from.  Cakes are not common on X-mas Day, except for fruitcake, which is more like bread than cake.

Note 2: Christmas = X-mas = Xmas
 
Note 3: We plan on posting photos of X-mas decorations soon.


Newsletter 15 (Japanese)

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