Noël en France (Topic: Christmas)
Christmas in France
Christmas is a very family-oriented holiday in France. It’s associated with good food, candles and a roaring fire. It’s really nice to gather around the fire just as it’s getting dark to tell stories. A well-known Christmas story is the Nutcracker.
The weeks leading up to Christmas are busy with preparations. A Christmas tree is purchased and put up at home. The tree is decorated with colourful ornaments and flashing lights. Some people like to take care of their decorations and add little angels. Someones, people also decorate their doors by hanging up a Christmas wreath.
An important part of the preparation is the advent calendar. It helps you count down to the long-awaited big day. Every day from the beginning of December, you open a little door to find a chocolate, a little note, a cute picture …
The big Christmas dinner happens on Christmas Eve. The table is covered with delicious dishes. Foie gras, turkey with chestnuts, oysters, yule log, nuts, figs and chocolates are all part of the Christmas menu. The meal can take hours and finishes in the middle of the night.
The children look forward to the presents that Father Christmas has made with the help of his elves. The children sometimes leave a card with a nice message for Father Christmas as well as a cup of coffee or some biscuits on the window sill so that Father Christmas can regain his strength and continue his journey. He has a long journey to make on Christmas Eve. He flies through the air in his sleigh pulled by reindeer. He stops at each house where a child lives and comes down the chimney to deliver the presents. In France, Father Christmas comes in the night. They say that he never returns to houses where he has been surprised by the children. That’s why the children have to sleep well and wake up late.
When everyone is awake, they gather around the Christmas tree to open presents together.