January 8, 2011

Cadeaux de Noël

This Christmas was my first Christmas with FBF, and although we spent the actual day apart (me in CA and him in le Nord), I still got a lesson in French dating.

While trying to find a place to live, I was hébergé (housed, home-stay style) chez FBF’s Maman (mommy). As a thank you, I decided to bring her back some Christmas presents from my trip to California.

My gifts were not the thank you I had intended. La Maman, FBF told me, had bought me Christmas presents as well. I was now going to have to do a gift exchange.

Before now, I had never bought nor received a gift of any kind from the parents of a significant other. My gift was simply a thank you present disguised as a Christmas gift. Her present, on the other hand, was simply a Christmas present.

La Maman, as it turned out, was only the beginning. Soon thereafter, FBF informed me that his sister also wanted to buy me a Christmas present.

A few days later, I found out that FBF’s cousin, whom I’ve met a maximum of four times, also bought me a Christmas present.

Last, but not least, and completely unannounced, FBF’s brother and sister-in-law, whom I’ve never met, also bought me Christmas presents.

Having not yet even made the one-year mark with FBF, this whole gift giving with the famille (family) thing made Christmas seem a little bit more serious than I had anticipated. Then I remembered that the French don’t date, they relationship.

I should have seen this coming, what with kissing a guy once making him your boyfriend, and being introduced to family members after only three weeks of dating, naturally I would be receiving Christmas gifts from family members inconnues (unknown).


  1. Yup! Right on target! The American notion of dating is very foreign to the amorous French.

    You're catching on quickly, though, m'dear!

    Ciao from Aix en Provence,

  2. Hey Leslie! Although I've been relationship-ing my French guy for a while now, it still catches me off guard sometimes how serious everything is with the French and dating!

  3. I have tried to explain dating to my French husband, and he doesn't understand it at all. I guess with them you're either in or out.

  4. Hey Sara Louise! I totally agree. There doesn't seem to be a trial period with them.

  5. I've been scrolling through your posts - love the advice on French relationships! It's so strange how cultural dating is! btw YOU'RE HYSTERICAL. I received an xmas present from a French boy, and I was ASTOUNDED! Maybe they have a thing about gifts?

  6. Hey Brenna! Thank you! I'm glad you like the blog :) They are so crazy about gifts over here! Although if you got a gift from this French boy you should be careful; he probably wants to marry you and make a million francoamerican babies!

  7. hey! i just found your blog and got totally sucked in... I live in the north of france aswell, with my french hubby. I totally agree, dating is sooo different with a french guy, after 2 weeks your there girlfriend lol

    and i read your other blog about meeting people on the internet, my french friend just met his new girlfriend online... which i also think is weird lol. but it is definitly more common for young people to do that in france.

    (i dont have a account so im using the hubby's lol )

  8. Hey Isadora! Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you're enjoying it :) The French just don't date, haha. But I guess it makes sense then that they'd love internet dating sites, as those are for "serious" couples. I'm happy to meet another nordiste!


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