Exchange students share French Christmas traditions


Marine and Elise look forward to their first American Christmas.

Emily Mears, assistant editor

After Thanksgiving in the United States it becomes socially acceptable to begin decorating for Christmas. All throughout the month of December local shops and homes begin setting up, spreading joy throughout the town. And according to our two foriegn exchange students, Marine Proto and Elise Lagree, Christmas in France is very similar. However, according to Marine, “It is a lot harder to find an advent calendar in America than in France.”


Similarly to America, in France Christmas is also a holiday spent with family. When it comes to gifts, some families open them on Christmas Eve while others wait for Christmas Day. 


However, there is a slight difference when it comes to meals. In France they eat a family meal on December 24, Christmas Eve (sometimes Christmas Day depending on the family). This meal can be called le Réveillon. It is to be eaten at midnight, sometimes after a Christmas Eve church service. The food in France is also more extravagant with a type of meat coming from a duck’s liver. Although, some families have turkey. It just depends on the family’s tradition. 


Cooking is another big part of Christmas. Elise shared that sometimes her family will even start cooking at eight in the morning. Eating and cooking seem to be very large parts of Christmas in France. 


Another difference is the lack of Christmas markets in America. Both Marine and Elise also agreed that France may even decorate more than the United States. But they use the same decorations: lights and trees. “I don’t think we have a special tradition in France that we don’t do here,” said Elise.  


Although there are not many differences between how America and France celebrate Christmas, this is sure to be a Christmas to remember for these two exchange students.