Christmas in France – Xmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas in France comes with some unique traits that make it spending the festive season in this enchanting country a mind-blowing experience.

The celebrations begin as early as the 6th day of December and go on until the 25th.

From unique decorations and gifts to mouthwatering meals, here are some compelling reasons for celebrating Christmas in France.

Christmas Decorations

Besides the standard decorations like Christmas trees and multi-colored lights, the French also incorporate nativity cribs (Crèche), with clay figures in them.

Also known as nativity scenes, these cribs symbolize the birth of Jesus in a stable or cave.

nativity cribs (Crèche), with clay figures in them

Some popular figures that are placed in the nativity cribs include Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

However, it shouldn’t surprise you to find some scenes with angels, shepherds, sheep, donkeys, and oxen.

You may also find the Wreath—a round, oval or heart-shaped green foliage that’s decorated with pretty ribbons and four candles, each representing the four Sundays leading to Christmas.

Presents

In some parts of northern and eastern France, Christmas celebrations begin on 6th December when Father Christmas (le Père Noël) brings nice gifts and sweets to the kids.

This day is known as St. Nicholas’ day and its celebrations are attributed to the belief that Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, is the protector of children.

Tagging along Santa Claus is Father Spanker (le Père Fouettard) who brings coal and spanks naughty kids.

Night Time Meal

After the midnight mass on Christmas Eve, people gather in their homes or restaurants to enjoy a feast known as le réveillon.

Also Read:  Incarnate vs Embody: Difference and Comparison

This meal consists of snails, seafood, oysters, lobster, smoked salmon, or caviar.

After this meal, the French will consume a roasted fowl such as a goose, which is followed by wine, champagne, or Muscadet. Desserts include a yule log (bûche de Noël)—cylindrical sponge cake that’s filled and frosted with chocolate and buttercream.

Christmas celebrations in France are extremely joyful and peppered with unique traditions.

They are largely centered on scrumptious food, nativity stories, and generosity.

In French Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Joyeux Noël’. In Breton (spoken by some people in Brittany, Northern France) it’s ‘Nedeleg Laouen’, in Corsican it’s ‘Bon Natale’ and in Alsatian (spoken by some people in Alsace, in Eastern France) it’s ‘E güeti Wïnâchte’. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas in France

  1. Christmas in France involves a lot of preparations; four weeks before Christmas, preparation has already begun for the great day.
  2. On Christmas eve, the meal (Le Revellion) could go up six hours. Family and their loved ones would sit together at the table to enjoy a great meal. There assorted dishes on the menu and about thirteen desserts.
  3. An important Christmas tradition for the French is the Christmas eve mass.
  4. Christmas decorations (more of nativity scenes) are done days before Christmas and the mistletoe is an important decorative item.
  5. At Christmas time, children will put their shoes near the fireplace, so that Papa Noel can fill it with treats.

Conclusion

The nativity scene is important in France as well and Yule Logs are commonly burned in homes here just like in Eastern Europe, but here they are sprinkled with red wine instead of holy water, to smell nice as they burn.

Also Read:  Christmas in Kenya - Xmas Celebrations Everywhere

On January 6th, Fete des Rois (Epiphany) is celebrated and a cake called Galette des Rois  (”King Cake”) is eaten.

This day is celebrated a lot at schools and pre-schools.

Word Cloud for Christmas in France

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in France. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in France
References
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_France
  2. https://www.euroclub-schools.org/facts-about-christmas-in-france
  3. https://www.completefrance.com/travel/holiday-ideas/12-reasons-to-spend-christmas-in-france-1-4770955

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

20 thoughts on “Christmas in France – Xmas Traditions Around the World”

  1. Celebrating Christmas in France is such a unique experience, as the traditions for the holiday are quite different from what we normally see in other countries. The nativity cribs are beautifully done and seeing them is truly an amazing sight to behold.

    • I totally agree! The nativity cribs have such intricate details and add a special touch to Christmas celebrations in France.

  2. The detailed insights into Christmas traditions in France are quite captivating. It’s fascinating to learn about the unique customs and celebrations.

    • Indeed, the rich cultural heritage and festive traditions of Christmas in France are truly inspiring and worth exploring further.

  3. The attention to detail in the Christmas decorations and the significance of Christ in the celebrations make the French Christmas quite fascinating to learn about.

    • Absolutely, the decorations and the underlying religious themes are what make Christmas in France truly unique and beautiful.

  4. The cultural and culinary aspects of Christmas in France are so beautifully intertwined, making the festive season in the country a delightful experience filled with unique traditions and delicious food.

    • Indeed, the fusion of cultural traditions and gastronomic delights in Christmas celebrations in France is truly captivating and adds to the allure of the holiday season.

  5. The festive spirit and the unique traditions of Christmas in France are beautifully depicted in this article, providing a wonderful glimpse into the holiday celebrations in the country.

    • Absolutely! The rich tapestry of Christmas traditions in France is truly fascinating and brings a whole new perspective to the holiday season.

  6. The diverse traditions and culinary indulgence associated with Christmas in France are truly intriguing. Thank you for sharing these insights.

  7. The rich and diverse traditions associated with Christmas in France are truly fascinating. The article provides a wonderful depiction of the unique customs and celebrations in the country.

    • I couldn’t agree more! The cultural depth and traditional significance of Christmas celebrations in France are truly remarkable and make for a captivating experience.

    • Absolutely! The insights shared here offer a comprehensive understanding of the festive traditions in France, making it such an interesting read.

  8. The festive spirit of Christmas in France is so vibrant and the emphasis on family traditions and elaborate meals makes it a truly enchanting experience.

    • Absolutely, the Christmas traditions in France are steeped in rich history and beautiful customs that are truly heartwarming.

    • I couldn’t agree more! The French really know how to make Christmas celebrations special with their wonderful traditions and delicious meals.

  9. The in-depth exploration of Christmas traditions in France is truly enlightening. It’s wonderful to see how the holiday season is celebrated with such rich cultural and culinary traditions.

    • Absolutely! The article sheds light on the beautifully intricate traditions of Christmas in France, offering a deep understanding of the festive celebrations in the country.

  10. I appreciate the detailed overview of Christmas traditions in France. It’s fascinating to see how the holiday is celebrated in different parts of the world.

Comments are closed.

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!