Here in Japan New Year's is very much a family event. It's rather quiet and sedate in my experience. There are a lot of traditions associated with it but they don't vary too much from family to family, much like Christmas in my country.
There is a lot of food of course. Washed down with beer or sake. Lazy days in front of the television. A visit to the local shrine on New Year's Eve is exciting but these days we are way too lazy to venture out into the cold to do that! Family get-togethers are nice and I enjoy that each year.
Prior to the end of the year almost all families send New Year's cards. They arrive on New Year's Day (like the post office keeps them until then, isn't that funny?) I bought mine ages ago at Family Mart (shhhh don't tell anyone I got them there) but I am still writing them today, just a couple of days before year-end. I have over forty people on the books for Chatty Cafe so most of them will receive one. Foolishly I did not put a space for the postal code so I have had to spend half an hour looking them up. Lucky for me Japan Post has a very comprehensive website with simplified Japanese to help!
Get an idea of the kind of cards people send here at Japan Post.
Christmas or New Year's cards? This year I have sent Christmas cards to most of my friends and family overseas and a few to friends here. I am sending New Year's cards to my students and the Chatters. I'll leave it to Mr. Mee a Bee to write to his relatives.
It's hard to keep track of all the addresses and remember who we should get in touch with isn't it?