Christmas Eve is considered the biggest date night of the year, but most respondents are planning to spend it a different way.

Christmas is considered to be the most romantic time of the year in Japan. There are countless TV dramas and anime series where a Christmas episode culminates in the two leads holding hands under a dazzling display of Christmas lights, steam rising from their mouths as they speak the words of their confession of love on Christmas Eve.

But in a survey by Line Research (an offshoot of Japan’s Line messaging app), a romantic just-the-two-of-us date isn’t the most common Christmas plan this year. Sifting through responses from 46,048 survey participants between the ages of 13 and 69, when asked what their plans are for December 24 and December 25, the answers were as follows.

● Spending Christmas with my family: 51 percent
● Spending it with my spouse/lover, just the two of us: 33 percent
● Spending it alone (also includes having to work, attend class, or participate in regular school club activities): 19 percent
● Spending it with friends: 18 percent
● Other: 3 percent

Multiple responses were allowed (which is why the total adds up to more than 100 percent), but the largest group, making up the majority of all responses to boot, was “spending Christmas with my family.” While much of Japan’s pop-cultural fascination with Christmas started from its image as a romantic date night, it’s also becoming more and more something that families celebrate together too, perhaps because moms and dads who went on Christmas Eve dates in not-yet-married-couple days still think of it as a special occasion after having kids.

▼ Odds are this kid doesn’t have a date but is excited for Christmas anyway.

“Spending Christmas with friends” is also bouncing back in the results of Line Research’s poll, which it holds every Christmas. After hitting a low of just 12 percent in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, this year’s 18 percent is actually two percent higher than it was in 2019.

The survey also asked what respondents were planning to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas, both of which fall on the weekend this year, to which they answered:

● Spending time as usual at home: 56 percent
● Having a home party: 30 percent
● Work/part-time job: 14 percent
● Going to see Christmas lights/tree/decoration display: 8 percent
● Going drinking or to a casual restaurant: 7 percent
● Going to a fancy restaurant: 6 percent
● Traveling: 5 percent
● Shopping: 4 percent
● Studying/school club activities: 3 percent
● Going to karaoke or other entertainment facilities: 2 percent

Here too the responses are pretty casual. Sure, the 6 percent going to fancy restaurants and the 8 percent headed out to see decoration displays are following the traditional “fashionable date” protocol, but spending Christmas at home, ostensibly with family or close friends in the case of home parties, is by far the more common plan, suggesting that maybe the best Christmas gift of all is simply spending time with the people you care about the most.

Source: PR Times via Otona Answer via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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