Celebrating new Traditions in France
|Place Pey Berland & the Cathedral Saint Andre|
I am writing this particular post as part of the Multicultural Kids Blog - Christmas in Different lands Series - but I'm also excited to share with everyone how we celebrate the holiday season in France.
This will be our 4th Christmas that we have spent in France and our first in a new home and also the first where the girls will split their time between myself and their father. Due to this new family circumstance, I am extremely aware of the traditions we have as a family and how to blend our cultures together, yet at the same time maintain continuity for my girls. I know when I look back on my Christmas memories - I have some fond ones and some traditions that have also shared with my girls.Prior to moving to France, our holidays were what I would consider "very American" with a few French touches- house decorated inside and out, beautiful tall tree all decked out in memorable ornaments and tinsel. We would celebrate the holiday either with my parents and/or friends - having both a large Christmas Eve dinner (French style) and then a nice Christmas day dinner (American). The girls would all get up on Christmas morning, toddle downstairs and be in awe of what Santa had delivered. Similar to how I grew up, we opened stockings first and then have a light breakfast and open the rest of the presents. We often went to a church throughout the advent season (although missing Christmas eve - often due to the early time of the service and our French Christmas Eve dinner). Other traditions which we enjoyed in the US were afternoon tree trimming, cookie making, enjoying a performance of the Nutcracker, enjoying a Victorian street walk in our town along with a breakfast with Santa at the Festival of Trees. There was often snow on the ground - very Norman Rockwell. Giving the feel of a quintessential American Christmas.
|Place de la Comedie - Bordeaux|
|Cours Intendance - Bordeaux|
In addition to the city lights - Bordeaux, like many other European cities, has a Christmas market. It's set up right in the city center on Allee Tourny, adjacent to the Place de la Comedie. The market is open each day during the whole month of December. Again, it's just so fun to go walk around, browse at the artisan gifts and other seasonal items. A unique place to find great Christmas gifts. After one walks around the Christmas market - it's also fun to just window shop in Bordeaux. The stores here still keep the tradition of decorating their storefront windows with beautiful holiday decor and special displays. This whole experience is very European to me.
|The girls at Place de la Comedie|
Another fun tradition here in Bordeaux is ice skating. Yes, you read that correctly - we have an outdoor ice skating rink that sets up next to Cathedral Saint Andre. This is a great family fun outing. The weather may not be the coldest here and we don't have snow - but there is just something about ice skating at the holidays! We often make it down to the rink 3 or 4 times. This year - my oldest will be heading there herself with friends to enjoy some teenage time together. It's especially pretty at after dark as the town is lit up all around you.
|Advent Candlelight Holy Communion Service|
|The yummy chocolate Advent Calenders|
Next week we will be trimming our tree. This year, I have been lucky enough to be connected with someone who has field full of trees. So for something new, the girls and I will be headed 45 minutes from here to pick out our tree and cut it down. I'm looking forward to this experience and the fun of choosing the tree together. We will then come home and decorate it together - as we have always done.
One of the "American" traditions that we did bring with us was "Elf on the Shelf". Now this didn't exist when I was little, but started a few back in many households in the States. We started ours when we moved to France. If you are not familiar with the concept - it's a little felt elf that visits your house for the month of December. He comes with a book that explains that he reports back to Santa each night and can not be touched or he will lose his magic. The idea is to move him around different parts of the house and he can even get into a bit of mischief now and again. Yes, I definitely am the parent who wakes up panicked at 4 am realizing that I forgot to move the elf!! But to watch my youngest each morning come downstairs and look around to find "Lolly" our elf is magical. It's also been fun to enlist the help of her older sisters, who assist in "Lolly"'s adventures.
Our town also hosts a series of events the weekend before Christmas including music, choirs, and a mixture of family activities. Last year's theme was winter activities and they has fun simulations of snowboarding and sledding for kids to try. There were also old-fashion childrens' games and a tent with chocolate covered fruit or marshmallows to sample. The chocolate came from a wonderful fountain! We have gone to these activities each year - so they have become a part of our new traditions here.
|Fun town activities in Pessac|
|Old Fashion Wooden Children's Games|
|My mother, myself and my girls - last Christmas|
|The fun Santa hat....|
I hope this post gives you an idea of how the holidays are celebrated in France - we may not be the typical family as we include some American aspects along with taking part in many of the French traditions.
|Ice Skating at Place Pey Berland|
I wish everyone a very happy December and if you follow my blog on a regular basis - I will be sharing more about our December activities and other aspects of French life here. Please feel free to subscribe via email, if you have not already done so.
Look for other posts from different lands through the following link and on each day in December & explore the world and it's cultures during the holidays:
Yes, I do miss the snow here in Bordeaux - but we can still pretend!! Happy Holidays!