This year I will be spending Christmas in London. Things are slightly different over here, which makes it good fun. I have had to learn how to British up Christmas celebrations. And I like it…So what is the result? Well, double the fun, and my very own blend of French and British food. What’s not to like? Here is how I do it:
- We celebrate Christmas Eve AND Christmas day. In France, Christmas Eve is an important meal. Usually, you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and you have a big lunch on the 25th. And you need to have to have 13 desserts on the 24th (you only need one bite of each, in case you were wondering…). The ritual of 13 desserts represents Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles.
- Believe it or not, we don’t have crackers in France. What are crackers? The cracker is a paper tube, covered in foil, twisted at both ends. They are sold everywhere in the run-up to Christmas. It’s shaped like a large sweet with hidden treasures inside. Each guest crosses their arms, using one hand to hold their cracker, and pulling their neighbor’s cracker with their other hand. POP! The cracker will make a bit of a bang with the contents spilling (usually is a joke to be read at the dinner table, a small trinket and a paper crown).
- Because we always have macaroons on Christmas. And panettone, for some reason. We like our panettone with a bit of meringue on top. Come to think of it, I am not sure that it is a French tradition. It’s just this time of the year.
- Boxing Day. I have to break it out to you: in France, we don’t celebrate Boxing day. We simply don’t have it. Tough but true. It is common practice to go back to work on the 26th of December if it is a working day. See, contrary to popular beliefs, the French are sometimes working when the Anglo-Saxon world just stops for a massive shopping spree! I thought that I should clarify this point. Somehow it makes me feel better. It might have something to do with the fact that I used to be told all the time that ‘we French’ never work.
- Sticky Toffee Pudding. You simply have not lived if you haven’t tried sticky toffee pudding. And I now make my own. I can’t believe that we didn’t have it in France.
- Mulled wine. For some reason I rarely had mulled wine in Provence. Believe me, I have caught up now. Despite the fact that the weather in incredibly mild this year, I need to keep warm with it. That’s my excuse anyway!
- A good Christmas service. I must admit that I am a sucker for a good Nativity play!
On this note, I wish you all a great festive season!