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.
- 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. We 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.
- France wouldn’t be France without the food. Fois gras, smoked salmon, beef filet roast.
- France wouldn’t be France without champagne. It is our aperitif go to drink.
- 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.
- 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 !
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 !
What are your favorite holiday traditions ?
What does your family debate when they get together ? Is food a big topic ?