How do they celebrate Christmas in France?

This is a guest post from Caroline Skudder who works as an English teacher at the Université Stendhal-Grenoble.

Christmas is a special and magical time of the year. Both adults and children look forward to it for different reasons: children for the tons of presents they get and adults for the fine food and chocolates they are going to eat. Both Christmas eve and Christmas day are celebrated. It is often the opportunity for couples and families to spend one of these days at one family’s and the other at the other family’s so everybody is happy. Father Christmas often comes two or three times: in the evening of Christmas eve (at one set of grandparents’) , in the morning of Christmas day (at home) and at lunch time of Christmas day (at the other set of grandparents’).

Christmas tree with star on topThe Christmas tree is often put up at the start of December and all the family set to work to decorate it. It often ends up being a little unbalanced but the children are proud of their work. Recently, there has been the fashion for outside electrical lights to decorate the house and neighbours often compete for the best decorated house.

Some families go to midnight mass and watch a nativity play played by children.

Tables are set up. Often several old tables are put next to each other to host everybody and we struggle to find a chair for everyone. We decorate them with Christmas table cloths and bits and pieces.

Christmas is about eating refined and delicious food you do not get to eat in the year. Several members of the family prepare a dish for the meal. The whole evening from 7 to past midnight is spent eating. There are several starters (there can be up to 3 or 4, for instance smoked salmon, prawns, snails or frog legs, foie gras), two main courses (for instance Turkey and Chestnuts or duck or poultry), the traditional cheeses and the Christmas logs. We often have enough food for the rest of the week!

Joyeux Noël (Happy Christmas)

If you want to learn French and you are based in Birmingham, you can contact me via my website for private French lessons.

Related posts: How do they celebrate Christmas in Germany?     How do they celebrate Christmas in Greece?    How do they celebrate Christmas in Denmark?

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