Try our SDG Course for FREE!

KFC for Christmas (Upper-Intermediate – C1)

KFC for Christmas - Transcript

In Japan, the tradition of enjoying KFC during Christmas has intriguing roots dating back to the 1970s. Initially spurred by a clever marketing campaign, the association between KFC and Christmas has become deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Due to a scarcity of turkey, a traditional Christmas meal in the West, KFC seized the opportunity to position its fried chicken as a festive alternative. The catchy marketing slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) further solidified this connection. Over the years, the tradition has evolved, with many Japanese families pre-ordering their Christmas “party barrels” weeks in advance. Today, indulging in KFC on Christmas Eve has become a popular and convenient holiday tradition, reflecting Japan’s unique blend of global influences and local adaptations. So, if you find yourself in Japan during the holiday season, joining the locals in savoring KFC might just become your new Christmas tradition.

KFC for Christmas - Video

KFC for Christmas - Video Gap Fill

Why not try a Video Gap Fill assignment based on this lesson?

Christmas in Japan

Christmas scene in Japan

Although Japan is not a Christian country, the people who live there have created a modern tradition of celebrating the season. Trees, ornaments, and Christmas markets are aspect of the holiday that Japan shares with many other places. However, Japan has also created a set of unique traditions that may surprise people from Western countries. 

Cultural Fusion: The Origins of Japanese Christmas

In Japan, Christmas is not a national holiday, but it is widely celebrated with a distinctive Japanese twist. The origins of Christmas in Japan go back to the influence of Western culture after World War II. While Christmas holds no religious significance for most Japanese, the culture and customs of the holiday are enjoyed by many.

KFC and Christmas Eve: A Surprising Combination

A strange yet popular tradition in Japan is eating KFC on Christmas Eve. The connection began in the 1970s when a local franchise owner connected the company’s red and white colors and the figure of Colonel Sanders to Christmas and Santa Claus. The catchphrase “Kentucky for Christmas” has become popular throughout Japan, and these days many Japanese families line up to reserve of KFC as a special Christmas treat.

Illuminations: Dazzling Light Displays

One of the most beautiful aspects of Japanese Christmas celebrations is the widespread illumination displays that take place in many towns and cities. Beginning in November and continuing through December, streets, parks, and buildings are decorated with vibrant lights. This tradition often attracts young people, who enjoy taking selfies among the lights and other holiday decorations.

Gift-Giving and Cake 

While the Western tradition of Santa Claus has made its way into Japanese celebrations, the focus of gift-giving often centers on young people and couples in particular. Christmas cakes—typically sponge cakes with festive decorations—are a popular and delicious part of the celebration. These are often enjoyed with family and friends.

Japanese Christmas cake

Unique Customs: Christmas for Couples

In Japan, Christmas is often seen as a romantic holiday for couples. Many young couples celebrate by exchanging gifts, enjoying festive dinners, and taking romantic walks through the beautifully illuminated streets. This unique aspect adds a touch of romance to the holiday season, making it a special time for love and connection.


In summary, Christmas in Japan is an interesting blend of Western traditions and local variations. The result is a unique seasonal celebration that truly reflects the Japanese culture. 

Is Christmas celebrated in your part of the world? If so, how? Write in the comments below.

More Holiday Lessons for English Learners



Latest Posts

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Never Miss A Lesson!

Join thousands of English learners and get our latest lessons delivered to you each week!

Join Base English for free!

Are you studying English? Why not sign up and get our latest lessons sent directly to your inbox? Start learning now!

Join Base English for free!

Are you studying English? Why not sign up and get our latest lessons sent directly to your inbox? Start learning now!