Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas...Holidays...Noël

Florence's Fawn
Preparations for our first Christmas in France are progressing somewhat haphazardly. I have spent the last ten years of living in the United States, working extra hard to recreate all the traditions of the British Christmas of our upbringing that were hard to come by in a different country, baking hundreds of mice pies in the process. Somewhere along the way though, our family Christmas has become a mix of British and American traditions. Now we're in France we need to add another culture to the mix. Some aspects of the Christmases we are used to are readily available in France, others will take some seeking out.

Finding time to get four children, including a wiggly toddler, in front of the camera to take a picture for our traditional homemade Christmas Card (one of the American traditions) has proven to be the biggest challenge so far, not to mention the fact that printable stationery is hard to come by here - or maybe it's not, I just don't know where to look! The good news though is that when I went into La Poste to buy stamps and post some parcels yesterday I was the only one there - no forty five minute line out the door. Either this means that French people don't mail anything at Christmas or they sent off all their parcels at the beginning of November and my parcels have NO chance of reaching their destination on time.

French stamp
Back to the cards, I addressed the envelopes at least and went to stick on the stamps, horrified to find that these French stamps are not self-adhesive but old school lick and stick - I'll need a glass of mulled wine to get me through that!

Looking
We have managed to get a tree. I love big Christmas trees and our new house has really high ceilings to accomodate one, but the trees on sale outside every florist here looked a bit small and so expensive.

Searching
Luckily for me Les Fermes de Gally have been transformed into a Winter Wonderland

Tall Tree
and we are now the proud owners of un sapin to rival the Eiffel Tower!

Wonder
Some things never change, the delight at opening the Christmas storage boxes and re-acquainting ourselves with the familiar but somehow forgotten ornaments is always special.

Ornaments
I even re-packed these ornaments in July to make sure they made the trip to France safely but it was still a surprise to lift the lid and see all my most favourite ornaments - the ones the girls brought home from pre-school for six years straight - nestled there together.

Favourites
Right, off to put another batch of mice pies in the oven and hope it doesn't burn them. If you know of any French Christmas traditions we should add to our celebrations, let me know!

3 comments:

  1. Don't forget to have the kids put their shoes by the fireplace - they do that instead of Christmas stockings here. Good luck with getting a family photo; we haven't got one either. In the 'too hard' basket at the moment! I think you should get the kids to lick all the stamps, they'd love it. You can supervise while drinking mulled wine!

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  2. Hi there!

    Seems to be longer than ever since we were in touch. Lovely to read all your news here...and rather than defend my silence over the last months (year or more?!), would like to send you a little late housewarming/festive package. When you have a chance, could you email me your postal address? L x

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  3. There was a point (when one of my kids was 2) that I discovered the photo cards that you could get with three openings. I could use a separate picture of each kid and not try to compose the perfect shot. Perfect!

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Bienvenue chez les Berries!
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A bientôt! Nicola

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