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Well, it’s December already, so I guess many people’s thoughts are turning to Christmas. As you know, I am not a Christian, so for me, Christmas just means pretty lights, lots of food and… presents! (Actually, this year it will also mean sun, beaches, and barbecues, because I’ll be in Australia with a group of students from my university.)

I was listening to a radio programme on the BBC yesterday, and they had some suggestions for good present ideas. Actually, buying a present for someone can be really difficult and stressful, so I was wondering how you all do things in your family. (If buying presents stresses you out, you might like this article.) I was talking to an American friend about this topic the other day, and he said his wife tells him never to buy her a present because she prefers to choose something herself. He hates shopping anyway, so it is a good system for them. Do any of you have a similar agreement with your other half? (“Other half” means your husband / wife / partner.)

What about your children? Do they tell you what they want, or do you decide? Do you still buy presents for them even after they have grown up? Do you buy presents for your nieces and nephews? How about your parents, or your brothers and sisters? Do you have any rules about spending limits, or does everyone just buy whatever they want?

Look forward to hearing your stories.

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55 Comments

  1. Kazu on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 02:21 PM

    Thank you for providing us good food for thought, David.
    As for me, I have no children and now am living only with my wife.
    Every year we talk about what to buy for our present.
    And then we choose only one present for both of us.
    Sometimes it is only for my wife, or in another year, it is only for me.
    It is economically good and also good for our relationship.
    Because we talk a lot about what things we really need.



  2. Fumie on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 03:41 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    The topic is very timely!
    We (my husband and I) buy Christmas presents for our children but we don’t buy them for ourselves. And we don’t usually give our parents or sibling them. I don’t know whether most Japanese are same as me or it is just me but basically adults(parents) give presents to children(sometimes to nieces and nephews). In our family, on christmas eve, Santa Clause put presents next to our children’s Futon, though they don’t believe in Santa Clause any more. We ask our children, “what presents are you gonna ask Santa to bring?” We can’t necessarily follow thier wishes when they ask him extravagant gifts. Today’s children want to have fancy gifts like games, computers or smartphones. It is quite a financial burden for us! About until what age we give our children christmas presents: we would probably give them until they will earn some money by themselves. And this rule may apply to giving Otoshidama.

    私たちは子供にクリスマスプレゼントを買いますが、お互いには交換しません。日本の人のほとんどがそうなのか、私だけなのかはわかりませんが、クリスマスプレゼントは大人(親)から子供(姪っこや甥っ子に渡すこともある)に送ります。我が家ではクリスマスイブの夜ににサンタクロースが子供たちの枕元にプレゼントを置きます。(もうサンタさんの存在を信じてはいませんが)子供たちに「今年はサンタさんに何をお願いするの?」と聞きます。でも必ずしもそのとおりにはなりませんが。というのも最近の子はゲーム、パソコン、スマートフォンなど高価なものをほしがるので。正直、家計には痛い出費です。子供がいくつになるまでクリスマスプレゼントをあげるかは、そうですね~たぶん自分でバイトなどして稼ぐようになるまでですかね。お年玉についても同じように考えます。

    Looking forward to hearing other member’s ideas!



  3. David Barker on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 03:53 PM

    I just bought a paper shredder! It’s almost as much fun as laminating (but not quite). As you can tell, I have a very interesting life.



  4. YU on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 04:35 PM

    今週のエントリーの和訳です。

    <All I Want for Christmas>

    Did you see the news about the collapsed tunnel? What a terrible accident! I guess most of you drive on the expressways sometimes, so you will know that some of those tunnels are incredibly long.
    トンネル崩落のニュースを見ましたか?本当に最悪の事故だ!みなさんのほとんどは高速を走ることがあると思うので高速のトンネルが信じられないくらい長いと知っているでしょう。

    When I drive through them, I sometimes wonder what would happen if there was an accident. Anyway, I hope they can find the people still trapped in there as soon as possible, and that at least some of them are still alive.
    私もトンネルを走っていると、もし(ここで)事故があったらどうなるんだろう、と思うことがあります。とにかくまだ事故現場に閉じ込められている人たちが一刻も早く発見されて少なくともその中の何人かは生存していることを願っています。

    Well, it’s December already, so I guess many people’s thoughts are turning to Christmas. As you know, I am not a Christian, so for me, Christmas just means pretty lights, lots of food and… presents! (Actually, this year it will also mean sun, beaches, and barbecues, because I’ll be in Australia with a group of students from my university.)
    さて、もう12月ですね。みんな頭がクリスマスモードに切り替わっているんじゃないでしょうか?みんな知っているように私はクリスチャンではないので、私にとってクリスマスといえばきれいなイルミネーション、ご馳走の数々、そして何といってもプレゼントです!(実は大学の教え子たちのグループとクリスマスはオーストラリアで迎える予定だから今年に限って言えばさらにそれに加えて太陽、ビーチ、バーベキューも、だな。)

    I was listening to a radio programme on the BBC yesterday, and they had some suggestions for good present ideas. Actually, buying a present for someone can be really difficult and stressful, so I was wondering how you all do things in your family. (If buying presents stresses you out, you might like this article.)
    昨日BBCのラジオ番組を聞いていたら(番組の中で)いくつかいいプレゼントのアイデアを提案していました。誰かのためにプレゼントを買のは本当に難しくてストレスになると思うのですが、みなさんの家庭ではどうやってプレゼント選びをしていますか?(もしプレゼントを買うことにすごくストレスを感じる人はこの記事を気に入るかも。)

    I was talking to an American friend about this topic the other day, and he said his wife tells him never to buy her a present because she prefers to choose something herself. He hates shopping anyway, so it is a good system for them.
    先日アメリカ人の友人とこの事に関して話したとき、彼の奥さんは彼に絶対プレゼントを買わないでくれ、と言う、と言っていました。奥さんは自分で何か選ぶ方がいいんですって。ともかく彼はショッピングが大嫌いだから彼らにとってそれって好都合のようです。

    Do any of you have a similar agreement with your other half? (“Other half” means your husband / wife / partner.)
    皆さんの中でパートナーと彼らと似たような「きまりごと」がある人はいますか?
    (“Other half”は夫、妻、パートナーという意味です。)

    What about your children? Do they tell you what they want, or do you decide? Do you still buy presents for them even after they have grown up? Do you buy presents for your nieces and nephews? How about your parents, or your brothers and sisters? Do you have any rules about spending limits, or does everyone just buy whatever they want?
    子供のプレゼントについてはどうですか?子供たちは欲しいものをリクエストしてきますか?それともあなたたち(親)が決めますか?大きくなった子供たちにもまだプレゼントを買っていますか?ご両親や兄弟姉妹にも買いますか?クリスマスプレゼントにかける額に限度を設けてますか?それともみなさん相手が欲しがるものは何でもお金に糸目をつけず買ってあげますか?

    Look forward to hearing your stories.



  5. David Barker on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 05:48 PM

    Thanks YU.



  6. YU on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 05:57 PM

    Hi Kazu,

    Nice to have you with us! 🙂
    Or did you post comments before? If so, sorry.

    > And then we choose only one present for both of us.Sometimes it is only for my wife, or in another year, it is only for me. It is economically good and also good for our relationship.

    That’s interesting! I have never heard of this before. What made both of you start doing that? Did you do the same when you were going out with her?
    そういうの聞いたことがないです。面白いですね。
    何がきっかけでそうなったんですか?
    結婚前付き合っているときもそうだったんですか?

    Hi everyone,

    My son still doesn’t tell us what he wants for Christmas, so we decide it ourselves. As far as I remember, I’ve never bought Christmas presents for my parents, my brother or relatives.
    息子はまだ何が欲しいとかあまりないみたいなので親の私たちで勝手に決めてます。記憶にある限りでは親兄弟、親戚にクリスマスプレゼントを買ったことはないと思います。

    When I was still dating with my husband and before my son was born, we used to give something for Christmas to each other. I don’t know why, but the system has naturally disappeared…
    まだ主人と付き合っている頃と息子が生まれる前はお互いにクリスマスプレゼントを贈り合っていました。でも何故だかわかりませんがそのシステムは自然消滅してしまいました。

    Anyway, when we were still buying something for our other half, I always chose and bought it for him myself, but he always shopped with me, I chose something I liked and he bought it for me. Like David’s friend, he hates shopping, so it was a good system for both of us!
    まだお互いに何かプレゼントし合っていた頃は私はいつもひとりで選び、買って渡していましたが、私のプレゼントは一緒に買いに行って私が選んで買ってもらっていました。Davidの友達と同じで主人もショッピングが大嫌いなので好都合だったようです。

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your explanation about “What’s the word I’m looking for”. It was new to me.



  7. YU on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 06:37 PM

    Hi David and Kattie,

    In Germany employees receive something like a bonus, called “Weihnachtsgeld=Christmas money, literally means)” before Christmas season. I think it was almost as the amount of their monthly salary. People usually spend the money for buying Christmas presents.
    I wonder there’s such a Christmas bonus in Britain, too.



  8. YU on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 07:11 PM

    【correction】

    > I think it was almost as the amount of their monthly salary
    -… as the SAME amount of their…

    > I wonder there’s such a Christmas bonus in Britain, too.

    I wonder IF there’s such a….



  9. amo on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 08:54 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your new entry, but I am afraid you forgot to close last entry again lol

    amo



  10. Biwa on Monday December 3rd, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Hi David,

    Christmas in Australia! Lucky you! Is that going to be a homestay or something like a private tour? Anyway, it sounds like a very interesting life to me!

    Hi everyone,

    What a timely topic! I’ve just set up our Christmas tree and hung up the wreaths and things yesterday. The tree seems to shrink every year!

    When my sons were small, they used to write letters to Santa to tell what they want and tape it on the window so that Santa could see from the sky. A few years later, they heard from someone that Santa does not exist and came home with tears in their eyes. I can’t forget their faces! I told them that Santa still lives in Finland, but he was very busy on Chrismas eve, so his apprentices will come to our house. lol! They prepared cookies and milk for “Santa’s apprentice” with very complicated? expressions on their faces from then. Anyway, we don’t give presents to them like before anymore, but when they have requests(iPods, clothes, bags, etc…), we talk over and decide.

    For my husband and me, the system just disappeared as like YU’s place. When I have a request, I just talk to him and get it by myself. It’s not romantic at all!
    I still buy presents for my parents (my father passed away last year, so I should say “my mother” actually) and my sister and her husband. Every year, we have a dinner together and exchange presents. However, we know what we want so I don’t have to walk around to find a present actually. My mother collects Baccarat glasses, my sister and I are looking for a nice silver dessert fork. So we get 1 or 2 of those things according to our budgets every year, and after several Christmases, we get 6 or 8(enough to invite guests). Then, we ask each other what you’d like to request next. This is not romantic, either, but I think it’s a nice system.



  11. kattie on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 01:22 AM

    Hi Yu and everyone,

    Tom and I are both self employed so I haven’t had first hand experience of this for a long time. When I last worked in a company, which was about 10 years ago, the boss used to give us 6 bottles of expensive wine, he also took us all out for a very nice meal and sometimes we carried on drinking/dancing at a club afterwards. We thought this was very generous because a lot of small businesses don’t give anything (particularly in bad economic times). I think larger companies tend to be a little more generous but I don’t know of anyone who gets a month’s salary as a Christmas bonus!

    I buy a lot of Christmas presents – probably about 25 – I buy for our families (including parents, sisters and their families, my elderly aunt and some old family friends). Apart from Emily and Rosie, I don’t spend very much on each person. To save money I start buying presents in the January sales, sometimes I make things and sometimes I might buy something like a really good old book. For example, today I bought a second hand book for just £2.50 (I’m not sure how many yen this is but it’s not much) for my ex partner it didn’t cost much but I know he will really like it.

    Tom and I always buy each other a Christmas present, sometimes it’s just a small one if we don’t have much money but it’s always a surprise. This year Tom has started doing oil painting and he was said recently that he would like to paint outside but it’s difficult without a field easel. I was so pleased he said that because this is a great present to get him and I think he’ll love it.

    Hi Anne,
    I love the sound of those coffee shops in your area – I bet they are nice and cosy to go to in the winter.



  12. Anne on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 08:53 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I’m already feeling Christmas:) I decorated Christmas ornaments including an advent calendar.

    When my sons were small, my husband and I prepared presents for them. Same as Biwa, they believed Santa come to the house and give them presents until 6 or 7 years old. Even now I remember the Christmas morning; they rushed to me with excited voice and look, “Mom, Santa gave me this! Why does he know what I’ve been wanting!” Their excited voice and mood made me happy.

    Time flies! My husband and I bought them something that they had wanted until they left home, but we don’t do it since then.

    We(my husband and I) are romantic at all from the start. He doesn’t like shopping. Also, he is not such a type as to give presents each anniversary or event like Birthday or Christmas, so I’ve never gotten Christmas presents from him! Having said that, I sometimes buy something lovely for my Christmas presents myself and show him saying,” I bought it today. Isn’t it lovely? Thank you:)” I guess this is my family rule.
    I buy presents for a couple of friends, and that is my Christmas shopping.

    Hi kazu,
    Nice to have you with us.
    >Every year we talk about what to buy for our present—That sounds nice!

    Hi YU,
    >In Germany employees receive something like a bonus—Do you think there is such a bonus in Japan?

    Hi kattie,
    Thanks for the comment. Yes, the coffee shops are cosy and I like visiting there.
    By the way, you told us the story about advent calendar and that made me want to get it this year. I bought it! I uploaded it on my blog, so if you are interested in it, have a look at it from the link below:
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/22anne22
    This calendar makes me happy:)

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  13. Biwa on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 09:43 AM

    Hi Anne,

    I saw your lovely advent calendar! I love Norman Rockwell, too. I have some postcards from the Saturday Evening Post’s covers hung up on the wall in my house.

    By the way, this morning I made some あんこtoast for breakfast for the first time in my life! I was glad everyone liked it. The salty taste of the butter and the sweet red-bean paste go together very well. I think I’m going to be into this for a while! (What’s the word for しばらくハマりそう!in English?)



  14. Biwa on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 09:46 AM

    Maybe I should have said “I have some postcards of the Saturday Evening Post’s covers”. I’m not sure, though.



  15. Biwa on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Hi everyone,

    By the way, do you know this song? The title is “Driving home for Christmas”. I love Chris Rea’s hoarse voice!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THcbQyFtCqg



  16. YU on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 03:40 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for answering my question.

    > but I don’t know of anyone who gets a month’s salary as a Christmas bonus!

    I see, it seems to be a unique system in Germany.

    > To save money I start buying presents in the January sales

    That’s a clever way!

    >In Germany employees receive something like a bonus—Do you think there is such a bonus in Japan?

    I don’t think so, but in Japan most employees get a bonus twice a year, – in July and in December. I guess most of you spend a part of the bonuses for your summer vacation, Christmas presents and New year’s gifts (of cash).

    Hi David,

    > he was said recently that he would like to paint outside

    This is Kattie’s sentence, and I don’t understand why “was” is necessary in this sentence.
    Her sentence means different from “he said recently that he would…”??
    I think both “he” mean Tom… Does this “was” have a special meaning?

    Hi everyone,

    Come to think of it, my husband stopped giving me a present for Christmas, but instead he’s started buying something for me during the New Year’s holidays. I think this is our new system. Shopping during the New Year’s holidays isn’t a bad idea because most of you are too busy in December, aren’t you?

    Hi Biwa,

    My English club holds a Christmas party every year. My son and other friends’ kids are acting their playing and dancing(in English) in front of about 100 people for the first time this year. I chose the program for their performance, – “Rock, Scissors, Papers” and “From Head to Toe by Eric Carle”. Actually they act pretty good, but I’m vey anxious for our kids to play and dance well at the actual performance…
    Do you hold a Christmas party at your English classes, too?



  17. Yukako on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 06:04 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Each of stories about Christmas makes me happy. Now I’m a student and I don’t have much opportunities to give someone presents besides my friends.
    Actually my birthday is December 25, so Christmas is the most favourite day because I get many presents from my family and friends!

    Hi Anne,

    Your advent calender is very cute! As you said in the blog, advent calender is not famous in Japan. I didn’t know that until my friend showed me three years ago.(She had lived in Germany for 5 years.) I hope advent calender will be more popular in Japan.

    Hi Biwa,
    >I made some あんこtoast for breakfast for the first time in my life!

    I love it, too! We call it 小倉トースト in Tokai area. I often go to cafe and eat it in the morning.



  18. kattie on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 06:13 PM

    HiYu,

    ‘He was said’
    It’s wrong! I was actually going to write ‘he was saying’ and then changed it – but forgot to remove the ‘was’! I’m writing this on my Blackberry which is hard so i can’t write anymore now but I just wanted to clarify this ASAP! Kattie



  19. YU on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 06:39 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your clarification.
    I always make such a mistake, too!
    I check my writings to improve them, but it often ends up with making another new mistakes!!
    Hahaha!!



  20. taco on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 07:02 PM

    Hello David,

    What would you like to get most for Christmas? Or you have got one…a paper shredder!? You must have bought an expensive one, because you can’t have fun with a cheap one! It often gets stuck. I can’t come up with anything to get for Christmas at the moment, but want to eat Christmas cake till I get sick.

    Look forward to hearing your stories.

    p.s うまく送信できなくてこれが4回目です。4回コメントが出ちゃったらゴメンナサイ。

    taco



  21. Biwa on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 09:30 PM

    Hi YU,

    Acting and dancing in front of 100 people! Your son and friends must be very brave!
    I don’t have any special events for Christmas, but I like to read stories and introduce lots of Christmas words especially for the lower grade students. I also show them pictures from magazines and stuff so that they can imagine what it is like at Christmas in other countries. I’m looking for a good picture of the Christmas market. Do you know any good ones?

    As you know, most children in Japan think of Christmas as a time to eat chicken and shortcake. Last year, I baked 200 gingerbread cookies! because they said they can’t imagine what a cookie with ginger would taste like. The children liked it, but I got worn out too much so I think I’m not going to do that this year. As I have lots of girls in the 6th grader’s class, I’m planning to show them pictures of “buche de Noel(Yule log)”,”Stollen” and “Puddings” and talk about Christmas sweets.

    Hi Yukako,

    You live in the Tokai area? I’ve also heard that they serve 茶わん蒸しfor breakfast in cafes there. Is that true?

    Hi Kattie,

    By the way, what is a Blackberry?



  22. amo on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    >By the way, what is a Blackberry?

    BlackBerry is a brand of wireless handheld devices and services. So she meant that she was writing a comment on her smartphone.

    amo



  23. Biwa on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Hi amo,

    Oh!!! Thaaaank you, amo!
    I thought it was a name of a car! lol!



  24. Yukako on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Yes! In Tokai area, we have wonderful “morning service” in cafes. 茶わん蒸し is a typical menu in it! We also have salad or fruit. It’s very good service!



  25. amo on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Hi everyone,

    There are things that I have always wondered, so can I ask you some questions?

    As for me, I never believed in Santa Claus, so I was wondering if you believed in Santa?
    If so how did you feel when you realized that he doesn’t exist?
    Why do/did you make your children to believe in Santa? Because I can’t find any good reasons to make your children to believe in him, if they eventually find out he doesn’t exist, and end up crying.

    Hi YU and Anne,

    >In Germany employees receive something like a bonus—Do you think there is such a bonus in Japan?

    I used to get some Christmas presents from my ex bosses. For example, I got scarfs, gloves, wristwatch. Oh, I really miss that 🙁

    Hi Biwa,

    Not at all. I just happen to have a friend who has one.

    amo



  26. Fumie on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 04:53 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for telling us a situation of the UK.
    Your ex-boss is incredibly generous! I understand from your comment that in the UK (probably in Western countries) giving Christmas presents is a big part of Christmas. Usually people give presents to many people although price are not always high. In Japan, people send mid-year gifts and year-end gifts such as foods, detergent, coffee, beer and etc..to their bosses, relatives and friends. People put more emphasis on these gifts rather than Christmas presents. Also, we don’t send Christmas cards so much but we send Nengajyo: New Years post card with a message like Happy New Year and May have a happy, healthy year.

    Fumie



  27. Fumie on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 05:13 AM

    correction
    situation of the UK → situation in the UK

    One of my favorite Christmas tunes is Nat King Cole’s. His warm voice brighten me up!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lQZ_7dgEa8&feature=fvst

    Fumie



  28. Biwa on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 08:00 AM

    Hi Yukako,

    They seem to provide really good service! It must be very hard for those chain (chained?) coffee shops like Starbucks or Tully’s to extend their business in the Tokai area.

    Hi amo,

    >I can’t find any good reasons to make your children to believe in him, if they eventually find out he doesn’t exist, and end up crying.

    Maybe you’re right! I’ve never thought that way. However, I’ve never insisted on believing in Santa Claus to my children, but as I read stories like “The night before Christmas” or sang songs like “Santa Claus is coming to town♪” and prepared things for Christmas together with them, they just naturally came to believe. It’s nice to look forward to something! I also think it’s good to feel that someone (Santa Claus) is always watching/caring for you especially for small children.

    By the way, do you know a book called “Is there a Santa Claus?(サンタクロースっているんでしょうか?)”. It’s a letter from an 8-year-old girl asking if there really was a Santa Claus to the New York Sun (a newspaper publishing company), and the really thoughtful and heartwarming reply from them. If you’re interested, the Japanese version is published from 偕成社.

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks for the song! These songs make me feel Christmassy than any other Christmas carols.



  29. Kazu on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Hi, everyone,

    I am sorry, but I didn’t know the rules of writing when I posted here.
    Because I visited here for the first time two days ago, and of course, the comment I posted that day was my first one.

    I am surprised that everyone here wrote long comments with difficult words.
    I am not in the advanced level as an English learner, so please forgive my poor English.
    I am going check here often, and look forward to join next time.
    So, please don’t be hard on me.



  30. YU on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I found some pictures of Christmas markets in the following links. The second one is the place I lived in Germany.

    https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E3%82%AF%E3%83%AA%E3%82%B9%E3%83%9E%E3%82%B9%E3%83%9E%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B1%E3%83%83%E3%83%88%E3%80%80%E5%86%99%E7%9C%9F&hl=ja&tbo=u&rls=com.microsoft:ja:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GPEA_ja&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Ga6-UO7kFaeKmwXq3oGYBA&ved=0CC8QsAQ&biw=1024&bih=630

    http://www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk/hamburg_christmas_market.php

    Hi amo,

    You have asked the right question!
    I have a feeling that for Japanese parents, Santa Claus is not very different from 鬼, 雷, なまはげ, etc… They’re just used as something like “ultimate weapons” to make their kids behave well.
    鋭い質問ですね!
    個人的には日本人の親にとってサンタって鬼、雷、なまはげなどの存在とあまり大差がない気がします。それらは全部子供が悪さをしないようにするための「最終兵器」みたいなものとして使われている気が。。。

    Besides, even if your parents never asked you to believe in Santa, you would definately hear Santa stories from someone/somewhere else around you in Japan – TV, friends, kindergarten teachers… So, I think it is almost impossible to keep your children away from “the belief in Santa” in Japan.
    たとえ親が子供にサンタを信じるように言わなくても日本では子供は他のどこかしら、誰かしらからサンタの話を聞いてしまう仕組みになっていると思います。例えばテレビ、友達、幼稚園の先生とか。だから日本では自分の子供だけ、サンタは存在して良い子にだけクリスマスプレゼントをくれる、という「サンタ信仰」から遠ざけることはほとんど不可能な気がします。

    I also think “the belief in Santa” is highly promoted by sweets, cake and toy companies for commercial reasons.
    お菓子、ケーキ、玩具の企業が商業目的でこぞってその「サンタ信仰」を煽っている、というのもあるとおもいます。

    By the way, St.Nicholas Day(Dec.6) is as important as Christmas in Germany. Apparently, there’s talk that St.Nicholas is the origin of Santa Claus. In Germany Santa is not so popular, children get lots of presents both on St. Nicholas Day and on Christmas Day, but young children believe that “angels” bring their presents to them on Christmas Day, not Santa Claus!
    ところでドイツではクリスマスと同じくらい(?)聖ニコラウスデー(12月6日、明日ですね!)も大事な日です。この聖人ニコラウスがサンタクロースの起源という説もあるみたいです。ドイツではサンタはそんなにポピュラーでなく、子供たちは聖ニコラウスデーとクリスマスの両日にプレゼントをもらえます。でも小さな子ども達はクリスマスにプレゼントをもって来てくれるのはサンタでなく、天使だと信じているようですよ。



  31. David Barker on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 02:34 PM

    Hi Kazu,

    Please don’t apologize. Your comments are very welcome. If we only have long comments written in advanced English, a lot of people will lose interest in the blog. I want to make it accessible to as many people as possible, so I hope you will keep writing!



  32. Biwa on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 04:58 PM

    Hi Kazu,

    Nice to have you with us! Looking forward to hearing from you again soon!

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for the link! I was thinking of going to びゅーPlaza to get some free brochures for package tours to Europe. As you can tell, I’m a very old-fashioned person.

    It was interesting that you should have mentioned “なまはげ”, and I found out in the link below that St. Nicholas is always accompanied by a scary man called Knecht Ruprecht(クネヒト・ループレヒト) who takes away naugty children. He’s very similar to “なまはげ”, isn’t he?
    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B5%E3%83%B3%E3%82%BF%E3%82%AF%E3%83%AD%E3%83%BC%E3%82%B9



  33. YU on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 at 06:05 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > He’s very similar to “なまはげ”, isn’t he?

    Indeed!
    I didn’t know Knecht Ruprecht.
    I used to baby-sit for a half German and half Japanese boy. I gave him a present for St. Nicholas Day without any qualification every year. If I had known Knecht Ruprecht, he wouldn’t have gotten any presents from me!(because he was a very naughty boy!)



  34. kattie on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I don’t know whether any of you have seen this but you can make a customised message from Father Christmas for children, it’s free and it’s really good
    http://www.portablenorthpole.com/home

    In my local town, there is the most beautiful and creative Christmas display I have seen for a long time and it’s in the second hand bookshop – the shop is a bit like the old bookshop in the film Nottinghill and in the window they have piled the books in a conical shape so it looks like a Christmas tree and then wound fairy lights around it. It’s simple but incredibly effective. On the top of the tree they have made an origami star out of the pages from an old book and then there are garlands of beads across the whole window with little, old glass baubles hanging from them.

    Hi Anne,
    I love your advent calendar – like you, I prefer calendars with pictures, as opposed to the ones with chocolates. Can you buy advent calendars easily in Japan or do you have to order them online?

    By the way, I didn’t know you also had a blog – I read your English entries and found them very interesting but the story about the boy who was shot on Halloween was so sad.

    Hi Biwa,
    I have that Chris Rea song on the Christmas CD which I keep in my car – I love it too and I have also read ‘Is there a Santa Claus’ – it’s such a heart-warming story.

    I think the children you teach are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic teacher, they must really enjoy your classes – especially the lessons about Christmas and how it’s celebrated around the world. I already knew that you often have chicken on Christmas Day in Japan but I didn’t know about shortcake, so I have learnt something too.

    Hi Yu,
    It sounds like your son is having a lot of fun at your English club – how nice to be involved in a play. Most primary schools in the UK perform a nativity play at this time of year and all the children take part irrespective of how good or bad they are – they’re usually really funny to watch because the kids often forget their words or sing badly etc – see this clip, my youngest daughter Rosie laughed so much when she watched it that she had tears streaming down her face! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihQuiyV-lXU

    Hi Amo,
    I believed in Father Christmas until I was about 6/7 and I think my children did too. I don’t remember the actual day when I found out he didn’t exist because I think that it’s something most children learn about gradually and by the time you know he definitely doesn’t exist, you are old enough to cope with it. I think the idea of Father Christmas is lovely and magical for children and the stories about him (and fairy stories) help feed children’s imaginations.

    Hi Fumie,
    We only give birthday and Christmas presents in the UK and I think Christmas is a bigger deal for most people than birthdays – I like it because everyone celebrates together and it’s not just your day. It sounds like New Year in Japan is a bit similar to our Christmas but I didn’t know you give presents mid year too – is there a special reason for it?

    By the way, I also love Nat King Cole and always play him at Christmas. The Christmas Song is a big favourite with most people in the UK – Tom even recorded it on his Christmas CD!



  35. YU on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 08:37 AM

    Hi everyone,

    > They’re just used as something like “ultimate weapons” to make their kids behave well.

    Yesterday I was writing this, and knew I want to write ‘They’re just used as ____ to make their kids behave well.’, but couldn’t think of the proper word.”
    Probably I could say, “They’re just used as a means of last resort to make their kids behave well”. (I talked about the usage of “last resort” with Tomo before.)
    THIS IS the word I was looking for!



  36. Biwa on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 09:13 AM

    Hi YU,

    That’s a new phrase to me. Thanks!
    Maybe you can say like this: “They’re just used as a last resort to make your kids behave well.”

    I also found “one’s best card(奥の手)” in the on-line dictionary.
    I wonder if you can say this: “Talking about Santa Claus works as if you’re playing your best card to make your children behave well.”



  37. kattie on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    By the way, Notting Hill is actually two words – I thought I’d better mention it, just in case I have confused you!



  38. Kimi on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 03:49 PM

    Hi Kazu,

    Nice to have you with us! Don’t worry. I’m not good at English, but I enjoy not only reading here but also writing comments. I’m looking forward to reading your next comment.

    Hi David and everyone,

    When I was a child, I interchanged gifts with my family member. However, now every year I enjoy delicious food with my husband and his parents at home.
    子供の頃は、家族でプレゼント交換をしていましたが、今は毎年主人と義両親の4人で美味しい食事に舌鼓を打ち、ささやかなパーティーを楽しんでいます。

    By the way, have you heard of movie called “Miracle on 34th Street”? I love it. Let’s watch it to see whether St.Nicholas exists or not. Original film was shown in 1947 and the remake in 1994. I recommend the original. It was black and white movie but now it seems color version of the film came out.
    ところで皆さん、「34丁目の奇蹟」という映画をご存知ですか?私の大好きな映画です。サンタクロースが実在するかどうか、ぜひご覧になって確認してください^^ 1947年のオリジナル版と1994年のリメイク版がありますが、オリジナル版をお勧めします。もともとは白黒の映画ですが、どうやらカラー版のDVDもでているようです。

    Hi David,

    Here are mistakes I’ve noticed in lesson8 of Practice test.

    I can’t see correct answers about these questions.
    ・My part-time job is a family restaurant. (p. 183)
    ・There’s no need to feel ashamed / embarrassed. It was a mistake that anyone could have made. (p. 49)
    ・Let’s meet at / in / on the station at / in / on half past eight at / in / on the evening at / in / on Friday. (p. 50)
    ・Please believe / trust me! I am telling you the truth! (p. 59)
    ・I borrowed / lent / rented this book from the library, but I borrowed / lent / rented the DVD from Tsutaya. (p. 59)

    I think you should write correct answers in the same way about article questions. Some answers are just “article” and others “full sentences”.

    Kimi



  39. David Barker on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 04:04 PM

    Thanks Kimi. That is very helpful.



  40. Kimi on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 04:07 PM

    Sorry, correction

    >Let’s watch it to see whether St.Nicholas exists or not.

    ⇒Let’s watch it to see whether “Santa Claus” exists or not.



  41. Kimi on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 04:22 PM

    Hi David,

    My pleasure.!(^^)!



  42. Biwa on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 05:43 PM

    Hi David,

    What does “Do you want me to kiss it better?” mean?
    I’m curious!



  43. Biwa on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 05:45 PM

    Is it like 痛いの痛いの、飛んでけ~?



  44. David Barker on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 05:47 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Yes, that’s right. Mothers often say it to children, but adults sometimes say it as a joke.



  45. YU on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 05:59 PM

    Hi amo,

    > As for me, I never believed in Santa Claus
    > Why do/did you make your children to believe in Santa? Because I can’t find any good reasons to make your children to believe in him, if they eventually find out he doesn’t exist, and end up crying.

    I’m wondering how you could do that…
    Did your parents tell you that Santa Claus was fiction when you were small?
    Of course, it makes no difference to me whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, but I’m just curious.

    How about Mickey Mouse or other cartoon characters? I took my son to Tokyo Disneyland this summer for the first time. We took a picture with Mickey “at his house”. My son still believes that he met Mickey there. Almost no one tells their very young chirdren, “That isn’t Mickey, someone is just wearing a Mickey’s 着ぐるみ”. Soon or later children will know that Mickey is actually a fictional character, but I don’t think letting children to dream of Santa, Mickey, ANPANMAN, etc.. is a very bad thing, even if they eventually find out they don’t exist, and end up with crying. I know you didn’t say that it was a bad thing, though…

    Probably Santa is more holy and legendary than Mickey and other cartoon characters…
    Comparing Santa to Mickey is comparing apples and oranges?!

    Hi Kimi,

    I read the storyline of the movie in Wikipedia. It reminded me of the news that “Pluto used violence on a boy(guest)”. I hope this is only an urban legend…



  46. Anne on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 08:29 PM

    correction:
    >We(my husband and I) are romantic at all from the start—>We(my husband and I) are not romantic at all from the start

    Hi amo and everyone,

    > As for me, I never believed in Santa Claus
    > Why do/did you make your children to believe in Santa? Because I can’t find any good reasons to make your children to believe in him, if they eventually find out he doesn’t exist, and end up crying.

    I don’t remember if I believed in Santa Claus when I was a child because it was more than 55 years ago. Also, there were not so many children who get presents where I grew up(I grew up in the middle of nowhere.)those days, but I do remember that I was happy with finding presents on Christmas mornings.

    I didn’t try to make sons believe in Santa Claus, bu they did when they were small. amo, I understand what you mean, but I’m afraid I have a different idea from you concerning this issue. Believing in Santa Clause is nice as a process becoming adults or in their life even though they end up being disappointed to find that a Santa Claus isn’t a real person. I like the idea leaving some room( or space?) fantasizing something.( I meant to say,”自由に空想をめぐらす余地を残しておくという考えが好きです.”Does my sentence make sense?)
    Of course, in Japan Christmas is just the season in festive mood for most people and is one of the events commercialized same as other events like Children’s Day or Valentine’s Day.
    I guess there are few people who go to church on that day, and there’s nothing to do with Christianity. Having said that, this season is also the time for giving. I think this is nothing to do with your religion. Also, lots of novels, poems, music and movies have been created and as members mentioned, these are all based on Santa Claus.
    By the way, have you ever heard of a story posted by a 8-year-old girl to a newspaper?
    An editor of The New York Sun wrote an editorial answering the girl’s query “Is There a Santa Claus?”
    Here’s the link:
    http://kazuo.fc2web.com/English/Santa-E.htm

    Hi Biwa and Yukako,
    I’m glad you liked it.

    Hi amo,
    Your bosses were so generous!

    Hi taco,
    That’s too bad! I’m afraid you might know, but it will be accessible when you click the button beside the number.(コードナンバーを入れる前に横のボタンをクリックしてナンバーを新しくするとつながりやすいようです。)

    Hi everyone,
    I watched two movies today.
    One is “Skyfall(007) and the other is “Trouble with the Curve(人生の特等席). Both of them were great!



  47. Anne on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 08:31 PM

    it’s me again
    “who get presents ” should be “who got presents.”



  48. Biwa on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 08:49 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks. Yes, I can imagine a hairy man imitating a woman’s voice saying that to his friend (man)!



  49. taco on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 09:18 PM

    Hello amo,
    Me neither! I have never believed in Santa Claus, even when I was very little. I don’t mean I was cynical about Santa Claus or my parents were realistic. I just saw Santa as an imaginary character for some reason. So I was surprised when my best friend told me that Santa Claus really existed. We were six, so I couldn’t doubt her, and I couldn’t accept her story as true. That was the dilemma.

    Hello Anne,
    Thank you for giving me a tip. さっそく試しますね。

    Bye for now,
    taco



  50. YU on Thursday December 6th, 2012 at 09:46 PM

    Hi Anne and everyone,

    > Believing in Santa Clause is nice as a process becoming adults or in their life even though they end up being disappointed to find that a Santa Claus isn’t a real person. I like the idea leaving some room( or space?) fantasizing something

    I agree.

    My son sent a postcard to しまじろう(Benesse’s cartoon character) the other day and is waiting for his reply. Of course, he would receive the reply from Benesse, but I think fantasy often fosters children’s development.
    If not, why most picture books are written with lots of fantasy?



  51. Fumie on Friday December 7th, 2012 at 06:28 AM

    Hi amo and Anne,

    >Believing in Santa Clause is nice as a process becoming adults or in their life even though they end up being disappointed to find that a Santa Claus isn’t a real person.
    – I totally agree with Anne’s and the editor of The Sun’s idea. I want my children to believe in something which isn’t really exist but may exist in their hearts. Living in this difficult world, children need something they can dream of.

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for putting the link of Christmas Market in Germany. Those pictures are so beautiful. They made me Christmassy! (“Christmassy” I remember I heard this word before but I have never used it. Thank you Biwa)

    Fumie



  52. amo on Friday December 7th, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Hi Biwa, YU, Anne, taco and Fumie,

    Thanks for your comments on my questions. I wanted to write back last night. I was a bit tired because I was snowed under with too many things. I realized that when you can’t say what you want to, you are bound to suffer from stress. I think I have a cold and am sure it’s due to the stress 🙁
    Anyway I hope I have some energy to write a comment tonight. By the time I will write a comment, David will already has finished the feedback though:(

    amo



  53. YU on Friday December 7th, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for the funny video of your diva daughter Rosie!
    (I don’t know why, but your comment on
    2012/12/06 at 12:25 has just appeared on the screen now, and I couldn’t reply you earlier. So, I’d been wondering what this comment meant ; By the way, Notting Hill is actually two words – I thought I’d better mention it, just in case I have confused you!)

    Well, I watched the video with my son and he asked me, “What’s wrong with her?”!! hahaha…
    I like her singing in a dignified manner.
    Most children around the ages like Rosie in the video are fearless and daring, but Rosie seems to have been outstanding from others!!
    I wonder what Rosie is like today…
    Who was actually taking the video then? Is that you who is giving a laugh (of an adult female) in the video?

    > I think that it’s something most children learn about gradually and by the time you know he definitely doesn’t exist, you are old enough to cope with it.

    I think so too.
    Most children over 6/7 still like the idea of Father Santa, though most of them already know Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Even in the case of adults, I’ve nearly never heard of anyone who hates Santa around me. So, I think your children might be a bit disappointed when they find out the fact, but it is just a passing shock and it doesn’t last long.

    > I think the idea of Father Christmas is lovely and magical for children and the stories about him (and fairy stories) help feed children’s imaginations.

    Exactly!

    > By the way, I also love Nat King Cole and always play him at Christmas.

    Talking of Nat King Cole, I like his song “Unforgettable”. It was overdubbed with the singing voice of his daughter, Natalie, after he died. Some people say her songs are too boring, but I like her voice.

    http://vimeo.com/28593172

    See you!



  54. David Barker on Friday December 7th, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Hi YU and Kattie,

    I’m not sure why, but Kattie’s comment was caught by the spam filter, and I didn’t notice it until this morning. It didn’t appear until I had approved it, so that’s why it was late. Sorry about that.



  55. YU on Friday December 7th, 2012 at 01:29 PM

    Hi David and Kattie,

    I see.
    Did you eat SPAM before posting the comment, Kattie? :-p