Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Meri Kurisumasu- Christmas 2018

"Wreck the Halls"

Christmas in Japan isn't quite like in the US. It isn't seen as a religious holiday or huge celebration here, as there aren't many Christians in the country. There is lots of influence from America though, and customs are getting more popular and lights in the city but with NO emphasis on Christ and the KFC man is practically their Santa. . . I'm not really kidding, it is tradition to get KFC chicken here on Christmas and they dress him up! They also eat Christmas cakes too. It isn't a national holiday either, so Riley worked today on Christmas Day too.
However, there is a national holiday on the 24th of Japan-- an Emperor's birthday! Soooo Christmas this year for us was celebrated then.  There was little "build-up" for Christmas this year for us though. Riley has been working killer hours and we have had company and yah, just hasn't felt exactly like the Christmas season with the nice fall weather. . .  We kinda joked and said this is the year we would skip Christmas. So, I think we all had pretty low expectations for the day-- but it actually turned out to be pretty dang fun and magical!

Christmas started with a family run in our borrowed jogging stroller and german pancake breakfast. We then opened presents and thanks to loving grandparents we were able to enjoy both wrapped and unwrapped gifts this season. One of our favorite gifts this year was a printed picture book for Luke from Nana with lots of family pictures and a little story to remember his family away. It was so thoughtful and cute. We are so grateful for our families and how they both made efforts to also include us in family talks and traditions. We ended the evening with seeing Christmas lights in the city, eating American food at TGIF, and watching some Christmas clips and messages from LDS.org  :)

It really was a great day, despite being away from our families and home country. We both realized we can make Christmas magical on our own!
Luke and Santa at ward Christmas party
This was my favorite quote I came across this season, a good reminder for me what "Christmas spirit" actually should be, and how I can feel it in our home and lives more. . . 

"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always." 
- Thomas S. Monson

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