Christmas in Okinawa: How to make the season bright!


The holiday season can be challenging when we’re away from friends and family. This is especially true when you’re living on the opposite side of the planet. Although it’s not quire the same celebrating Christmas (or any other winter holiday really) here in Okinawa as it is in Massachusetts where there is snow, turkey and family there are a lot of things that we do to make the holiday season bright.

Go see some illuminations! 

Although holidays like Christmas are not widely celebrated throughout Japan there are tons of Illuminations that happen during the winter season. They happen all over the country too! These illuminations usually start in November and run throughout February! Each illumination usually features thousands of lights, displays, laser shows and even music for you and your family to stroll through. There are even special illuminations which feature live performances. Although these illuminations are not the same as strolling through your neighborhood to look at the beautifully decorated houses they are a great way to put your family in a holiday mood.

TIP: Most of the illuminations that are available right here in Okinawa are FREE and the ones that aren’t (like my personal favorite Itoman Peaceful Illumination) have a very small fee.

Watch your favorite Christmas movies! 

Nothing can put you in the holiday spirit like a Christmas movie. There are so many of them out there that you can literally watch one every night leading up to Christmas if you want to. Some of our favorites are the Santa Clause movies and Christmas with the Cranks.

Have a white Christmas. . . . kinda’

My husband and I are both from Massachusetts where it snows a LOT especially during the winter holidays. Because we don’t have snow here we have made a tradition over the years of making snowflakes out of paper to hang on the windows. It’s simple, easy and doesn’t cost much but it is something we can do together and reminds us of snow filled memories back home.

Pump those Christmas tunes! 

So maybe there’s no snow and maybe there is not a whole lot of chill in the air but there’s nothing that makes a holiday season feel like a holiday season like some tunes! Sure you can pop in one of your favorite CD’s which is always a lot of fun but with today’s technology one of the things we love to do is utilize sites like Jango and iTunes Radio to play an assortment of holiday music. This means we don’t get bored with the same old CD’s that we have heard year after year and if you’ve got some sort of device that uses apps you can hear these tunes pretty much everywhere you go!

Carry out traditions! Don’t have any? Make some up! 

A holiday is not a holiday without some traditions. Rather than letting the holidays pass you by find some traditions that you enjoy and carry them out with your family. Don’t have any? Well make some up! There’s nothing wrong with making up a tradition even if it’s basic. I mean, they all start somewhere right!? Some of our family traditions include having at least one of Japan’s famous “Chicken Boxes” on Christmas Eve (These chicken boxes are available pretty much everywhere from McDonalds to Convenience Stores). We also eat a bologna sandwich on Christmas day for lunch. (This is because our first Christmas together the chicken we bought for dinner was spoiled and all we had in the house was bologna. We also carry out some other basic traditions like decorating a Christmas tree, attending illuminations, opening one small gift on Christmas Eve and of course making a Christmas Cake.

These are just a few things that we do to make our holiday season bright even though we are so far away from our family and friends during the holiday season. What are some of the things that you do to celebrate the holiday while living in Okinawa? Please let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Christmas in Okinawa: How to make the season bright!

  1. I plan to explore the sourthern part of Okinawa while visiting family in Itoman, then sharing Christmas when they all come to my house for turkey and ham.

  2. Yup! I’ma go see the million lights illuminations. It looks like there are different places you can go to for that. I love how Okinawans get so excessive, in a good way. 😀

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