Click for a bigger picture of Santas carrying a mikoshi in front of a temple.
I realize that sending Christmas cards is a dying custom, but I still love them. Living in Japan affords me the chance to buy and receive unique designs that mix and match Japanese culture with traditional western Christmas imagery. Seeing this marriage between east and west, particularly when Santa is involved, is always a delight. There is virtually no place that the Japanese won't put old Kris Kringle, no matter how sacrilegious the juxtapositioning of the imagery may appear to be. There was once a story in The Japan Times about a department store that wanted an authentic nativity scene in their display window and sought the advice of a foreigner on the newspaper's staff. After setting up a manger with the requisite components, the store decided it was all too solemn so they placed jolly old Saint Nick amongst those witnessing the savior's birth.
I will miss the amusing, quaint, and cute culturally mixed imagery that appears on Japanese Christmas cards.