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Japan's Gifting Culture and Gift Ideas with MUJI

Jozankei Onsen Yukitoro

Japan is well known for its unique way of celebrating the act of giving gifts. The respect and love you can show to another person through a beautifully wrapped gift thoughtfully handed to the other person is truly admirable and makes the Christmas season even more special. Dive into the Japanese ritual of giving and get some Japanese gift ideas straight from one of our favourite Japanese brands, MUJI, to place under the Christmas tree. This month we have partnered up with MUJI and we’ll be giving away a 200 voucher for your Christmas shopping on Instagram (Terms and Conditions apply)! MUJI are also launching a new gift card which will bring smiles to many this holiday season. 

Christmastime in Sapporo

Japan's Gifting Culture

Japanese people take gifts very seriously and they have plenty of occasions throughout the year when it’s customary to bring something and share with others. When travelling even between cities within Japan, you can often find beautifully packed boxes of crackers and local sweets which are really popular souvenirs. In Japan every trip has to end with buying souvenirs (often edible) which are called ‘omiyage’ and later on handed out to family, friends, and co-workers. You’re also expected to bring a gift when visiting people’s homes, in this case expensive fruit should do the trick, and the final rule of the gift game is to always give something in return at a later date! This brings us to one of the biggest gift giving seasons in western countries, Christmas.

Christmas in Japan may be celebrated in a completely different way to us with New Year's celebrations being a more accurate equivalent, but there is a lot we can learn and try ourselves. The season is all about Christmas Eve which is Japan’s most popular date night. According to a questionnaire conducted in 2020 64% of people said they spent it with their partners with the second and third most popular answers being children, and parents. People either have a nice meal at home or eat out and see Japan’s stunning illuminations. At the end of the night many people exchange gifts and last year clothes and accessories were the most popular gifts! 

Bells at Sapporo's Christmas Market

Japanese Etiquette

In Japan the presentation of a gift is often more important than the contents themselves and shows the care that has been put into it. Japanese gift wrapping is an art in itself, often using the sustainable furoshiki cloth which is a traditional wrapping that adds elegance to your gift. Colours should not be overlooked; Japanese people prefer bright pastels and try to avoid giving red cards for Christmas because this colour is associated with funerals. 

Once your item is wrapped, you’re ready to go. Japanese manners call for people to give individual gifts in more private situations unless you’re planning to give something to everyone in the room. It is also viewed as rushing if you give someone your present at the beginning of a meeting so you need to be patient and be prepared for the other person to politely refuse at first! Modesty when receiving something is very important and the other person will eventually accept your gift holding it with two hands to show respect. They have to admire the wrapping for a while and only then can proceed to opening it in a private setting.

Japanese Gift Ideas

You can add a Japanese touch to this year’s Christmas with carefully selected items from MUJI. Here are some of our favourite picks to create a relaxed and sociable atmosphere in your home:

The pinnacle of relaxation

This item will transport you to Japan from your living room; take in the scent of luxury as MUJI’s aroma diffuser produces a refreshing mist. You can pair it with the ‘omotenashi’ essential oil blend which evokes images of Japanese hospitality. Omotenashi is a Japanese custom of fully embracing your guests which stems from Japanese Tea Ceremony where the host wholeheartedly supports the guests through the different steps on the tea journey.

Best thing? The large diffuser can be used to light up your room and the portable one will never leave your side - perfect for long winter evenings.

Minimalistic tea time

Take a break from work for fragrant Japanese tea using MUJI’s Hakuji traditional teapot and teacups! Upon the first glance Hakuji porcelain seems white but it actually has a slight blue tint which creates a unique effect when serving guests. A must-have Japanese tea set for all Christmas parties this year!

Japanese beauty

Simplicity is the key to understanding Japanese beauty: using few but effective products that create radiant and flawless skin with the help of natural ingredients. MUJI’s toning water made using water from Kamaishi City in Iwate prefecture is a great example of this philosophy. Self-care is more important than ever so you can show your friends and family that you think about them.

We hope our Japanese gift ideas give you some Christmas-inspiration for the holiday season. Giving is an important part of Japanese culture and the art of appreciation lays at its heart.

Make sure to check out our Instagram giveaway with MUJI here and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!



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