Christmas in France with Traditional French Winter Cocktail Recipe

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Christmas in France with Traditional French Winter Cocktail Recipe

French Christmas traditions and vocabulary

History and traditions—Le Réveillon, Père Noël, French Christmas music, movies, terminology, and a famous French winter cocktail recipe. Our favorite French Christmas customs.

Santa Claus appears in modern French Christmas traditions. Le Père Noël only became popular in the 19th century. Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and eastern France celebrated Saint Nicolas on December 6. Thanks to American cartoonists like Thomas Nast and playwrights like George Webster, Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus, clad in red.

French Christmas Songs

Most Christmas songs are in English and from the US (“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey is a favorite!).France has some classic Christmas songs. Tino Rossi’s 1946 Petit Papa Noël is the most famous.
Mon Beau Sapin, from O Tannenbaum in 1856, and Vive le Vent, from Jingle Bells in 1948, are other French translations.

French people do not celebrate Christmas like Americans do. Thus, you will not hear Christmas carols in France’s streets or stores.
Paris Christmas

However, Les Galeries Lafayettes Haussmann and Le Printemps Haussmann have stunning window displays in December. Puppets and light shows liven windows. The dome-topped Christmas tree at Les Galeries Lafayette is stunning.
Christmas Markets in France

France has various Christmas markets, or Marchés de Noël. Christmas markets originated in Germany and eastern France. Strasbourg hosts one of the oldest and most famous marché de Noël. This Christmas market on the Grande Île near Strasbourg Cathedral has a beautiful sapin de Noël. Christmas markets begin in early December and sell decorations, gingerbread, vin chaud, and other homemade goods. Christmas lights and music are added.
Ingredients :

1.5 liters of red wine (cheap is good)
200 grams sucre roux (1 cup brown sugar).
1-lemon zest
orange zest
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 cloves
1 fresh ginger slice
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Red wine in a big pot over low heat. Stir with brown sugar. Next, add cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, lemon, and orange zest.

Gently simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the wine is hot. Sieve the solid ingredients and serve it hot.

Réveillon et Noël

For Christmas gifts, kids must behave all year. They write to le Père Noël in early December to say how wonderful they have been and request gifts.

Santa will deliver presents on December 24 and 25 from his sled driven by reindeers, according to kids. The elves assist Père Noël load his sled with mountains of gifts.

French youngsters get an Advent calendar before Christmas. They open a door with a chocolate surprise every day from December 1 until Christmas.

La Veille de Noël, French Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dinners are shared by family. Dinner starts at 8PM, and folks se mettent sur leur trente-et-un (literally, “they dress up on their thirty-one”) to the nines.

A classic Christmas supper includes foie gras, saumon fumé (smoked salmon), escargots (snails), oysters or seafood, and a capon or turkey with chestnuts.

Finally, a Christmas Yule log is the dessert. La bûche is a butter-and-chocolate-filled log cake. Champagne is traditionally served as an apéritif or dessert. French Christmas dinners last several hours.
Christmas Tree Slippers

Kids do not hang their stockings over the fireplace like in the US. They leave their slippers or shoes under the Christmas tree. Le Père Noël knows whose slippers are whose and where to place the presents as he descends down the chimney. Kids can leave Santa cookies, drinks, and reindeer milk under the Christmas tree.

More kids are opening presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. Adults exchange gifts during or after meals.

Catholics can attend midnight mass after Christmas Eve dinner to honor Jesus’ birth. Many families decorate their Christmas tree with a crèche (nativity scene).

Christmas is family day. With a large family, you may spend Christmas Eve with some relatives and Christmas Day with others or your belle-famille (family-in-law). Christmas lunch may last all afternoon like Christmas Eve dinner! If you are invited to a French Christmas lunch or dinner but do not know your host, a box of chocolates is excellent!

Decoration and Christmas Spirit in French

Christmas balls:
: Gifts
Chaussons: Slippers
Christmas crèche:
Winter holidays
Guirlandes: Tinsel
Happy Christmas!
Holiday greetings!
Christmas market:
Santa Claus
Rennes: Reindeer
Christmas tree:

Christmas Nurture

Yule log dessert
Champagne :
The capon
The turkey
Sea food:
Huitres: Oysters
Marrons: Chestnuts
Smoked salmon Salmon
Mulled wine

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