All I want for Christmas is you

All I want for Christmas is you

In the world of shojo manga, Christmas can only mean one thing: romance! Whether a couple goes on a special Christmas Eve date, or the heroine gets a glimpse of her crush at a Christmas party, high emotions are a given during the holiday season. Let’s see how Christmas is celebrated…

Kimi ni Todoke - ChristmasKimi ni Todoke style!

Our introverted heroine Sawako is invited to a Christmas party with her friends Yano and Chizu, as well as her crush Kazehaya. Yet just as Sawako tries to tell her parents about the party, they become emotional because Sawako was supposed to be born on Christmas, and she decides not to go. On Christmas Eve, Sawako’s dad mistakes a hat she knitted for Kazehaya as his Christmas gift. Yet not all hope is lost: when Kazehaya calls her from the party, Sawako’s parents realize she wants to be with her friends and give her their Christmas present: a cellphone. Sawako makes it to the party just as it’s ending, where she and Kazehaya exchange gifts.

Gifts exchanged: Kazehaya gives Sawako a pretty cellphone strap, a perfect present for her new phone. Sawako ends up giving Kazehaya her dad’s gift – a belly warmer! Even though Sawako is embarassed, Kazehaya is elated. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

  • Lovely Complex style!

Otani, in a mad rush to cram for his college entrance exams, begins seeing his girlfriend Risa less and less. When Risa’s coworker starts developing feelings for her, a jealous Otani breaks things off with Risa, who is left heartbroken. At a Christmas party with her coworkers, Risa realizes she can’t enjoy herself without Otani, and she decides to go to his house. But before she can get there she bumps into Otani, who also ran to see her because he can’t concentrate on his studies. The two make up, and celebrate with a Christmas kiss.

Gifts exchanged: Neither had time to shop for gifts, but Risa receives the best present she could have ever asked for – Otani tells her he loves her more than he could have ever realized. All together now: awwww.

  • Itazura na Kiss style!

Even though the Irie family is going to a fancy Christmas party at a hotel, Kotoko decides to spend Christmas with her two best friends, whose boyfriends are both busy on the day. But at the last minute both her friends cancel, and Kotoko is all alone on Christmas Eve. However, Kotoko’s crush Naoki happens to see Kotoko’s friend and realizes she must be home alone, and he returns to spend the holiday alone with her (with fried chicken and a cake).

Gifts exchanged: Kotoko gives Naoki a watch, but he doesn’t get her anything. That’s alright with her though – she got to spend Christmas with her beloved Naoki!

  • High School Debut style!

In her typical gung-ho attitude, Haruna decides to plan the perfect Christmas date with her new boyfriend Yoh. They go to Santa-land (which is full of kids) then to a Christmas fair (which is full of old people), but they still have fun all the same. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when they go to dinner: the staff, who are pissed about having to work on Christmas Eve, play a game with the customers to show whether they have kissed anyone or not. Haruna’s answer shows she hasn’t but Yoh’s shows that he has, and Haruna runs away, embarassed. But when Yoh catches up to her they kiss, and he promises never to kiss another girl again.

Gifts exchanged: Haruna gives Yoh a wallet she spotted him eyeing, while Yoh gives Haruna a scarf because she’s always running around in the cold with clothes that are too thin. Both gifts are extremely considerate, but I have to say Haruna was probably happier with the kiss, considering the fact that she could barely look at or speak to Yoh without freaking out and blushing afterwards.

Gakuen Alice - Christmas partyGakuen Alice style!

As in many other shojo manga, Alice Academy hosts a Christmas party where the girls where cute Santa costumes. Mikan tries to make Yoichi, a little boy close to class-troublemaker Natsume, happy by having Bear (who can walk and gets quite grumpy) play with him. Luka, Natsume’s best friend, thanks Mikan for making Yoichi happy by kissing her on the cheek. At first Mikan is shocked but that doesn’t last for long: when she and Natsume dance they end up falling and accidentally kissing each other in front of the whole school! Mikan freaks out and leaves the party, only to end up arguing with Natsume that it wasn’t a ‘real kiss’ by saying their lips barely touched. Natsume puts an end to the argument by kissing her for real, and the Christmas party comes to an end.

Gifts exchanged: Three kisses. I’m starting to sense a theme here…

Christmas in Japan may be more about romance than the typically family-oriented holiday is here in the west, but the true spirit of Christmas is still retained. As these shojo Christmas stories show, it’s not what you get for Christmas that matters most – it’s who you spend it with.

8 thoughts on “All I want for Christmas is you

  1. I’m becoming increasingly amazed at seemingly how much influence Christmas has in Japanese anime. I visited Japan the last two weeks of November this year and while many of the shopping malls seemed to be gearing up for Christmas shopping and Christmas music was prevalent, outside of that I didn’t see much evidence of it. Since Christianity is a very small minority Japan, I’m having trouble understanding it.

    1. This is so true. Western culture influenced Japan after WWII, and of course making Christmas a huge deal makes sense because it boosts the economy, regardless of whether the Japanese are Christian or not. But what I think is interesting is that Japan treats Christmas as more of a romantic holiday, considering they adopted Valentine’s Day as well.

      1. As an interesting counterpoint (at least, to me), I just finished watching “Kamichu!”, a show that features the Shinto religion front and center. In particular, in one of the episodes one of the main characters rebels at the idea of her family and friends celebrating Christmas and organizes a festival at their shrine on the 24th. Not everybody agreed with her, some of the local community “leaders” came in conflict with her, and another main character’s boyfriend ended up on the other side simply because that was where his part time job was – which was VERY interesting given what exactly that specific girl was.

  2. Interesting. There is a lot of drama happening in all these scenes. But I guess that makes sense since these are suppose to be big romantic moments. The Valentine’s Day episodes/scenes also tend to be extra dramatic in shoujo manga/anime too. The only Christmas scene I remember at the moment is the one from Skip Beat, and I actually really liked it because it was sweet that both Maria and Kyoko had birthday’s right next to each other and that their most important people were there to celebrate it with them. :3

    1. I’ve noticed that I tend to like Christmas stories in shojo manga more than Valentine’s Day stories, probably because everything that could go wrong usually does in most of the Valentine’s Day stories I’ve read. And you’re right – very few of the Christmas manga storylines I’ve encountered have been low-key in terms of drama.

  3. OMG, I enjoyed Kokou Debut’s Christmas chapters. If I were a guy, I’d want a girlfriend like Haruna too!

    Also ~ don’t forget Tsukasa and Tsukushi’s Christmas date from hell. lololol.

    1. I’m sure most people would want to date someone as loyal and hardingworking as Haruna. Ooh, I forgot about that one! Tsukasa helping Tsukushi take care of a kid on their date was pretty fun considering the fact he’s a big kid himself.

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