Christmas in Paris.
French Christmas is all about family and food, a lot of food, with a little bit of Père Noël thrown in.
The celebrations started on Christmas Eve, with a family dinner lasting from 7pm till 2:30am, with about an hour of that dedicated to opening gifts. The rest? Drinking delicious champagne and wine, and eating several courses, from appetizers to a cheese course, and of course way too many desserts to count.
I learned that in the South it is traditional to have 13 desserts. We didn’t have quite thirteen, but we did have homemade chocolate covered clementines, marzipan fruits, bugnes, gingerbread cake, and bûche de noël, to name a few.
Christmas decorations in a small skiing village next to Frenchboyfriend's hometown.
In between the cheese coarse and the dessert coarse, who to my wandering eyes should appear but none other than the not-very-elusive Père Noël!
France’s equivalent to Santa Claus actually shows up while the children are awake to bring them gifts. While there weren’t any children present, Frenchboyfriend’s grandpa still dressed up as Père Noël and added a bit of Christmas magic to the evening.
French children also don’t need to hang their stockings by the chimney with care, as the French get their gifts directly from the big guy and don’t have stockings at all.
This probably explains why Frenchboyfriend’s family kept referring to all the gifts under the tree as being from Père Noël. There didn’t seem to be the same distinction between family gifts vs. Santa gifts that I have in my family.
Christmas day we underwent the eating endeavor again, only this time with the dad’s side of the family.
But meals didn’t stop there! We continued to have lovely dinners with various other members of the family and good family friends for the next several days. And then what else do you do for New Year’s Eve but eat a big meal?