Although Christmas is a relatively recent import into Japan, the giving and receiving of gifts has always been a big part of life here. Besides many formal and informal traditions of exchanging gifts, there are two big gift-giving periods, ochugen in August and oseibo in December, when families will give special pre-packaged gift sets such as canned coffee, laundry detergent, soy sauce, salad oil and sake to people who have helped them in some way. These pre-made gift sets are a big industry, and sales of gift items are watched by economists as a bellwether for Japan's domestic economy at large. The custom of giving gifts applies to companies, too, and every year J-List exchanges gifts with companies like Nitroplus and Will (makers of the PC dating-sim games we sell) as well as the various distributors we work with. It's always fun to see what gifts the other companies send, and I always love Hokkaido-based Crowd's the best -- this year we they sent fresh ikura (salmon roe). Incidentally, J-List has a page of anime and gift snack sets, including boxed gifts suitable for giving to others -- click here to browse these fun items.
Gift like oseibo have a larger cultural footprint than Christmas gifts.