How to Celebrate Christmas in France Like a Local: Part 2
In the first part of this article, we explored some of the most common and popular Christmas traditions in France, such as Advent, Le RÃveillon, Midnight Mass, and Les Treize desserts. In this second part, we will discover some more French Christmas customs that you can enjoy if you are spending the festive season in France or want to add some French flair to your own celebrations.
No French feast is complete without some wine, champagne, or other alcoholic beverages. At Christmas, the French like to toast with a glass of sparkling wine or cider, usually accompanied by some foie gras or oysters. Some regions also have their own special drinks for Christmas, such as vin chaud (mulled wine) in Alsace, or anise-flavored pastis in Provence.
The French take great care in decorating their tables for Christmas dinner, using festive tablecloths, napkins, candles, and centerpieces. Some of the most common elements are holly, ivy, pine cones, and red berries. Some families also like to place a small nativity scene on the table, or a yule log cake decorated with meringue mushrooms and sugar figurines.
Sapin de noÃl
The sapin de noÃl (Christmas tree) is another essential part of French Christmas decorations. The French usually buy a real fir tree and decorate it with lights, ornaments, tinsel, and sometimes candy. The tree is usually placed in the living room or near the fireplace, and presents are placed under it on Christmas Eve. Some families also hang a star or an angel on top of the tree.
Shoes in front of the fireplace
Instead of stockings, the French tradition is to place shoes or slippers in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve, hoping that PÃre NoÃl (Santa Claus) will fill them with gifts and sweets. Some children also leave a carrot for PÃre NoÃl's donkey, and a glass of wine or milk for PÃre NoÃl himself.
Les Cadeaux de NoÃl
The French word for Christmas gifts is les cadeaux de NoÃl. The French usually exchange gifts on Christmas Eve after dinner or on Christmas morning after breakfast. Some families also follow the tradition of opening one gift each on the 24th of December. The gifts are usually wrapped in colorful paper and ribbons, and sometimes accompanied by a card or a poem.
Le PÃre Fouettard
Le PÃre Fouettard (Father Whipper) is a character from French folklore who accompanies PÃre NoÃl on his rounds. He is said to punish naughty children by whipping them or giving them coal instead of gifts. He is usually depicted as a man dressed in black with a long beard and a sack of coal. He is more common in northern France and some neighboring countries.
The papillotes are a type of chocolate candy that originated in Lyon in the 18th century. They are wrapped in shiny paper that makes a crackling sound when opened. Inside the wrapper, there is also a small piece of paper with a joke, a quote, or a riddle. The papillotes are usually eaten after dinner or offered as gifts.
Mistletoe is a plant that grows on trees and has white berries. It is considered a symbol of good luck and fertility in France. On New Year's Eve, it is customary to kiss under the mistletoe and wish each other bonne annÃe (happy new year). Some people also hang mistletoe above their doors to ward off evil spirits.
We hope you enjoyed learning about some more French Christmas traditions. If you want to celebrate Christmas in France like a local, you can try some of these customs yourself or share them with your friends and family. Joyeux NoÃl! 29c81ba772