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 Houx - pHoto : M. Déchelette

December 6th: Feast day of Saint Nicholas

St. Nicholas is a sort of Father Christmas for children in northern and eastern France and also in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

On the evening of December 5th, Saint Nicholas is said to bring presents for well-behaved children whereas the Bogeyman (“Père Fouettard”), scolds the naughty ones. In other parts of France, you have to wait for your presents until Christmas.


December 21st: Winter

Girouette - Photo : G. BrameThis is the winter solstice, the first day of the coldest season. It also has the longest night and the shortest day.

December 25th: Christmas

Christmas is a big Christian festival when all good catholics go to midnight mass. For other people it’s a family celebration with a red and gold colour theme.

Whatever your religious beliefs, everyone traditionally stays up late on Christmas Eve for a celebration meal called “le réveillon”. Bûche de Noël - Photo : M. DécheletteThere is a very good menu including choice specialities such as: foie gras, seafood, turkey and the traditional Yule Log (a rich chocolate cake) for dessert.

Young and old alike look forward to the highlight of the evening, opening the presents which are waiting under the Christmas tree or by the fireplace.

Le Père Noël - Atelier Art graphique IME Ségur - Aube (61)

Small children enjoy writing to Father Christmas to tell him what they would like. The French postal service helps Father Christmas to answer all the letters he receives.

Do you believe in Father Christmas? They say he comes from Finland and travels on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison

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