New Year's Gift Giving
The New Year's season is a time for visiting family and friends in Japan, as it is in many of our home countries too. If visiting family members with small children, the children will often be given gifts of money (called "Otoshi-dama"). Otherwise, a nice box of sweets or rice crackers ("Osenbei") are popular gifts. It's best to purchase the boxed treats at a nice department store, because they will attach a "noshi" (white paper that signifies a gift), as well as gift wrap and bag it in a nice shopping bag for you. On the "noshi" paper, you can choose to have your name calligraphied on the sheet so that the recipient knows who the gift was from.
Boxes treats can cost anywhere from about \1,000 and up, depending on how much you want to spend. Sweets from well-known makers as well as local specialties are popular.
Here is some typical gift boxed treats that we recently received: