Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Traditional & Personalized Japanese New Year Gifts

The most important holiday in Japan celebrates the new year. Festivities start on Jan. 1 and continue for two weeks of traditional celebrations. Two annual festivals are celebrated: the Lesser Festival and the Greater Festival. The lesser Festival consists of offering prayers for a good rice harvest and of a bird-scaring ceremony. During the Greater Festival, people pray for the dead and go visiting and delivering gifts.

Traditional & Personalized Japanese New Year Gifts


Nengajo are post cards, and Japanese people send these New Year's greetings to business associates, friends, family and acquaintances. These cards are often decorated with pictures of the animal representing the new year (for example, the coming year 2013 is the Year of the snake so cards are decorated with snake). They may be handmade or printed commercially, although people usually add a short handwritten note, thanking the recipient for help during the previous year and hoping for a continued relationship in the new year. Nengajo are not sent to people who have lost a relative in the previous year.


To celebrate the New Year, adults customarily give children some pocket money or gifts.This custom and the gift itself are called otoshidama. Many families go shopping on New Year's Day so children may spend their money on toys, candy and other treats.

Japanese Otoshidama

Most Japanese businesses give out New Year's calendars. Some companies have full-time employees whose job is to design, print and deliver these special calendars. These may be mailed or delivered by hand; if someone brings you a calendar it is customary to drink a ceremonial cup of tea with them.


The most popular New Year's gift, after the nengajo, probably is food. A great deal of thought is given to food gifts, and the wrapping and presentation is considered to be just as important or more important than the gift. Coffee, salad oil in decorative bottles and soy sauce are very traditional gift foods, as is any type of fruit. Watermelon is considered a delicacy in Japan and is a very sought-after item. In recent years candy has become a popular gift, especially gourmet chocolate and intricate marzipan creations.

Kokeshi dolls

For the younger girls you can get the cute looking Kokeshi dolls as, Japanese New Year gift. The dolls are made of natural wood with cylindrical body and round head. These are popularly known as "Sayonara dolls". This is one of the very favorite items as New Year presents among young girls. Make the gift personalized by adding your sweet girl's name on it. You can also, get custom made dolls for your loved ones.

Kokeshi dolls

More New Year Gifts Ideas - You would be looking out for more ideas for New Year celebrations. Here are some more gift ideas for you.
  • Ninja Sword Set
  • Juniper in a Water Bonsai Pot
  • Engraved Japanese Wood Chopsticks
  • Basho the Sumo Wrestler Sculpture Glass-Topped Table
  • Origami Crane Necklace
  • Elegant Japanese Calligraphy Tea Set
  • Pure silk kimono
  • Gingerbread House Tea Mug
  • Lucky Red Takeout Box with Chopsticks Favor
Good Luck Symbols

Most Japanese visit shrines as a part of their New Year's celebration. Stalls are set up along the paths to these shrines that sell good luck symbols for the pilgrims to keep for themselves or give as gifts. These include hamaya, which are wooden arrows containing placards upon which you can write your New Year's wishes, o-mamori, which are small bands of ribbon or braided cord attached to a charm symbolizing marriage, health, success in studies, wealth and so on; and o-mikuji, which are paper fortunes.

Wish a very happy New Year and hope you get and give the most incredible Japanese New Year gifts for your near and dear ones.

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