Five French holiday traditions

As we prepare for the Christmas weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some typical French traditions from my family. I have been in France over 23 years and besides the few years I went back to the US for Christmas, the following pretty much describes every single year.

  1. Christmas is about family (as opposed to New Year’s which is usually spent with friends). My husband has several siblings and we spend the 24th and 25th together. The 24th we go to mass, then to my sister in law’s. She makes a full sit down meal and we dine from about 10 to midnight. The next day, everyone comes to our place early afternoon. We open gifts then have a big, sit down lunch that lasts a good part of the afternoon. My favorite part of these 2 days is the pictures of all my nieces (and one nephew). So much fun to see them grow up every year.2014-12-24 22.31.16 2014-12-25 00.17.00We are just missing one SIL and BIL who are currently in Africa but will be back next year. So we have our annual Skype session.20151225_162703
  2. France wouldn’t be France without the food. Fois gras, smoked salmon, beef filet roast.

    Foie gras

    Foie gras

  3. France wouldn’t be France without champagne. It is our aperitif go to drink.2014-12-25 00.05.53
  4. Family desserts. My husband’s family loves to cook and there are several desserts that they make each year. And we spend hours debating over which one is best… the one made by my husband, my SIL or my MIL.2014-12-25 15.52.45
  5. Thankfulness. I try not to forget this each year. I have a family who is happy, healthy, everyone gets along and likes being together. We don’t see each other that often, but when we do we fully enjoy it. The last time was at my niece’s wedding in September, so I am very happy that in such a short time we will get to see each other again. All grown up !20160924_182933

I have noticed that my kids and husband are so attached to these traditions. As soon as I want to innovate, change the menu, or do anything differently, I get a huge push back. As my niece got married this year, she will be spending Christmas day with her new family. That means presents will need to be the 24th. Yeah, my kids are freaking out because of the change !

I am excited to be joining Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Check back next week for some updated pictures from this year’s Christmas.



What are your favorite holiday traditions ?

What does your family debate when they get together ? Is food a big topic ?

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Comments: 10

  1. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy December 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing that with us — it all looks so lovely. Wish I could be there. I will be visiting my folks in the old folks’ home . . . it’s Hannukah, too.

    Yeah, I love to change things up and a certain someone doesn’t. Unless it’s his idea.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Running is always better with friendsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm Reply

      LOL. I hear you !
      Enjoy Hannukah !

  2. Darlene December 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm Reply

    Love your traditions. I like to change things up. This year, we’re going to my MIL.
    Darlene recently posted…Friday Five: Holiday RacesMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm Reply

      I wish we could change things up once in a while !

  3. Lacey@fairytalesandfitness December 23, 2016 at 5:23 pm Reply

    I do not like change during the holidays either, so we follow tradition. We always go to church Christmas eve. And then get together to watch a holiday movie afterwards with tasty snacks.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Holiday CheerMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 26, 2016 at 8:18 am Reply

      I think the movie theater here closes at 4 p.m. on Xmas Eve….not sure if open Xmas.

  4. Kimberly Hatting December 24, 2016 at 5:23 am Reply

    I keep a pretty open mind, but I do have a hard time changing things too much for Christmas. The year I got married was the first year I missed my family’s big annual Christmas get-together. We went to my husband’s family’s house (for an extended stay), and Christmas Day was kind of a disappointment…everyone sat around in jeans/sweat clothes (almost like it was just another typical day). It was a good time with family, but so different than what I was used to doing.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Holiday Races – Fun Times with FriendsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 26, 2016 at 8:17 am Reply

      Each family has their own traditions…. in France everyone dresses up both the 24th and 25th. At least in my husband’s family. Then again, in France we dress up most of the time.

  5. rachel December 26, 2016 at 2:42 am Reply

    That’s so funny — if I try to change anything, everyone’s up in arms around here, too. I guess it’s a good thing? <3

    • Karen - Fit in France December 26, 2016 at 8:16 am Reply

      I am sure I would be lynched if I changed anything big…. the smaller things ? I try to modify a bit. LOL

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