How to celebrate a French style Christmas

The Sacré Coeur in Paris - FranceTo celebrate a French style Christmas is to observe it with family and friends, surrounded by children and by exchanging gifts and good wishes. It is marked by generosity, family reunions, candy for children and gifts for the poor. Midnight Mass is now very sparsely attended but is still regarded as important. Christmas trees (sapins de noël) are popular and they believe in the Yule log or the Christmas log. The Père Noël (Father Santa) and his Rennes (reinders) brings presents and gifts on Christmas Eve. The way to celebrate French Christmas is to allow the influence of its rich culture to affect your celebration.

A few suggestions

  1. Have a display of the Nativity scene or crèche as the focus of your Christmas celebration. People the crèche with little clay figures which are called santons or little saints.
  2. Make the traditional French Yule log-shaped cake called the bûche de Noël, which means Christmas Log. Serve generous portions of it along with the rest of the food, the grand feast called le réveillon.
  3. Have the feast as a supper after the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and serve numerous courses of soups, fruits, salads, meats, fish, chicken, cheese, breads, nuts, pastry, candy, and of course, plenty of french wine. The main course can vary from goose to turkey with chestnuts and oysters.
  4. Exchange gifts on Christmas day. Do not forget to give gifts to children for Christmas.


  • Hang mistletoe above the door during the Christmas season to bring good fortune throughout the year.
  • Leave your shoes next to the cheminee to have them filled with presents by Santa (Le Père Noël).
  • Sing a Christmas song in french such as: Petit Papa Noël, quand tu descendras du ciel, avec tes jouets par milliers. N’oublie pas mes petits souliers….


  • Although, after the Réveillon it is customary to leave a candle burning in case the Virgin Mary passes by, don’t leave home with the candles burning.

One Comment about “How to celebrate a French style Christmas”

  1. priscilla Says:

    salut!!! hi!! I’m actually french and I can say that you right even if I don’t believe in god we have a “crèche” !! Whatever I’d like to thank as it’s great!!! Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas!! Joyeux Noël!!Feliz Natal!!!

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