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It has just dawned on me that Christmas is only a week away and we haven't discussed holiday plans. Every year we have a slightly different crowd here in the forum, and it's always kind of interesting to see how we expats are celebrating; whether strictly traditional from back home or here in France, or some combination or something completely "original." Or, if we're mostly of the "bah humbug" persuasion.

I noticed that the custom of hanging lights on the outside of the house seems to be catching on in our area - and the more they flash and dance, the better! (A bit startling when returning home after dark and the first house in the one little commune is frantically vibrating with lights, especially now that their neighbors across the road have their own flashing, dancing display.) None, however, have gotten quite as bad as some of the excess displays back in the States.... yet. (See attached picture - if all that flashes, it could be dangerous.)

So what are you doing this Christmas? What's on the menu? Are you hanging lights? Have a tree?
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We're staying in France, since we spent Christmas/Hanukkah with my family last year. The husbeast and I will both be working on Christmas Eve, as he used up all of his vacation for our wedding and the party in the States in October, and if all goes well for me, it'll be my first week at a new job (or I'll still be a vacataire at my current job and won't have the right to any vacation time!) We'll have dinner at my in-laws' (probably turkey or guinea fowl), open presents, and possibly stay the night. Christmas Day, we have plans with my sister-in-law to see the new Star Wars movie.

My Christmas presents for my husband and SIL haven't arrived in the mail yet, and I'm a little anxious about that.
 

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Ah, Star Wars for Christmas! You'll have to give us a mini-review.

We just took Pere Noel to the maternelle this morning in the donkey cart. One of the little kids asked about the reindeer, but we told them the reindeer are resting up for next week's big trip. (With all those "cat burglar Santa" things folks hang on their houses here, I kind of figured they weren't into reindeer here... but you never know with these little kids.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If it's the food you're after, I hate to disappoint you, but my MIL doesn't let anyone help her cook, and she refuses to touch a salt or pepper shaker. :p
I meant literally :) 10 mins from Asnieres.

In between becoming your new neighbour I am going to watch Star Wars in the UK. Booked the seats on the first day they started selling them. Can't wait.
 

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I meant literally :) 10 mins from Asnieres.

In between becoming your new neighbour I am going to watch Star Wars in the UK. Booked the seats on the first day they started selling them. Can't wait.
Ahaaaa, I missed that. Welcome to les Hauts-de-Seine!
 

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Given our mixed origins, we'll be having French style réveillon on the 24th, English style Christmas dinner on the 25th, and Canadian style brunch on the 26th.

And the same for the New Year.....then dieting all of January.

bonnes fêtes!! :D
 

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As usual we will be going away to the Natural Park of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas where we rent an apartment in the village of Arroyo Frío, but it looks as though there will be no snow this year.

Spanish style eating habits dictate that normally the family has Christmas dinner at midnight on the 24th December and then it is flat until the festivities of the 31st December/1st January. We avoid all that since we don't like eating so late - you can't sleep with a stomach trying to deal with a huge (and I mean huge) meal. So we have an anglo/american Christmas dinner on the 25th (no turkey - they aren't big on them in Spain and it is too much for just three) with chicken parts (I like breast and the girls [SWMBO and her mother] like leg) roasted in a bed of stuffings (sage and onion; and parsley thyme and lemon) with the usual veg, plus (the American side) sweet potato topped with pineapple slices and marshmallows. Followed by Christmas pudding and custard.

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, Flora and Fauna of Andalucía, Southern Spain | Flora & Fauna | Andalucia.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierras_de_Cazorla,_Segura_y_Las_Villas_Natural_Park
 

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Ah yes, the menus! What more important topic to discuss here?

We do a sort of traditional Christmas eve dinner - with oysters, smoked salmon back and champagne (often with popcorn as the apéro accompaniment - not traditional, but good all the same). Christmas day I'm going with Coq au Vin - have done Boeuf Bougignonne in the past, but the Coq au Vin is actually a bit easier to do (at least using Julia Child's recipes). But they don't do Boxing Day here, so we generally work on leftovers the day after.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I'm hoping to spend Christmas Eve quietly at home as the meals and alcohol served by my French family are just over the top (those closest will, fortunately, be away), and I am in any case saving for a trip to Australia to meet some very special people. As for NY, I'll spend that with my French/American friend who has the same horror of NYE as me :)D) - we'll have a late lunch at a good restaurant, then back to my place for apero and champagne but we'll almost certainly call it a day before midnight. Sounds a bit boring, I know, but as they say it's horses for courses.
Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and healthy New Year to all.
 

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it's always kind of interesting to see how we expats are celebrating; whether strictly traditional from back home or here in France, or some combination or something completely "original"
I may be the "completely original"!

For me, Christmas is a time for friends, family and parties; I have none of those here, so I live the pre-Christmas excitement vicariously through my friends! Yesterday evening I went to a party at Leicester City Football Club (for our American cousins, they are a successful soccer team!); I sat on the table on a tablet via Skype! I spent around 20 minutes there, chatted to everyone and even had a dance! Over the last week I have joined the festivities with friends in various pubs and restaurants across the UK and even spent an evening in the home of Albanian friends in Toronto! I feel festive and connected and never have to leave my sitting room!

There is no Christmas hype in my little corner of France; no Christmas music in the supermarkets, the only sign of the season is the pâté de foie gras and boxes of chocolates!

I have meals here with my Belgian friends, neighbours and associates; they won't be called a friend as we haven't known each other since birth!

My sons arrive on the 24th, no doubt ladened with boxes containing a British Christmas. As I'm a Leicester lass, Melton Mowbray pork pie and Stilton cheese are mandatory. My friends all send me care packages; organic beef joint from Andrew the butcher, leg of lamb from Graham the farmer and bags of 'essentials' from the girls, usually including a bottle of Advocat, some Horlicks and lots of other goodies they think that I can't do without!

So, come the 25th, after a Turkey dinner and Christmas pudding and Birds custard, I shall be cuddled up in front of the fire, drinking Snowballs and watching Christmas movies with my boys. Perfect!

May the season bring you all that you desire,
Gypsycob x
 

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As usual we will be going away to the Natural Park of the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas where we rent an apartment in the village of Arroyo Frío, but it looks as though there will be no snow this year.

Spanish style eating habits dictate that normally the family has Christmas dinner at midnight on the 24th December and then it is flat until the festivities of the 31st December/1st January. We avoid all that since we don't like eating so late - you can't sleep with a stomach trying to deal with a huge (and I mean huge) meal. So we have an anglo/american Christmas dinner on the 25th (no turkey - they aren't big on them in Spain and it is too much for just three) with chicken parts (I like breast and the girls [SWMBO and her mother] like leg) roasted in a bed of stuffings (sage and onion; and parsley thyme and lemon) with the usual veg, plus (the American side) sweet potato topped with pineapple slices and marshmallows. Followed by Christmas pudding and custard.

Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, Flora and Fauna of Andalucía, Southern Spain | Flora & Fauna | Andalucia.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierras_de_Cazorla,_Segura_y_Las_Villas_Natural_Park
Anglo/american Christmas dinner??? Watch out, the pseudo police will be on red alert!! - oh no silly me, you ARE the police.

Enjoy.....
 

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Anglo/american Christmas dinner??? Watch out, the pseudo police will be on red alert!! - oh no silly me, you ARE the police. Enjoy.....
Christmas Day for me is different again.

Thailand being a Buddhist country does not celebrate Christmas obviously. Two weeks back they had their festival called Song Kran. Everyone buys small boats made of banana leaves into which they place a candle and a few Baht. These boats are then pushed out into whatever body of water may be available, seas,rivers, ponds even baths for flat dwellers. The signification is that you are getting rid of all problems for the coming year when the boat floats away, hopefully it does not return to you. Many hot air Chinese lanterns are released at the same time. It is a great sight down at the beach nearby, hundreds of people and lanterns in the evening. All followed by eating and celebrating the New Year, which , in the Buddhist calendar will be 2558.

For me on the 25 th will be a swim at ten. Followed by a visit to the nearby Temple for a cup of chai with the monks and a chat about English football clubs of which they know lots and I know nothing. Carrots and bananas for the six resident jumbos, no reindeers around here, or turkeys for that matter. For lunch I am joining some Australian friends that live nearby for a pool party and dinner. Everyone contributes something. I have provided the entrees by bringing over a nice fois gras and homemade fig and nut preserve to accompany along with a two bottles of Chateau Neuf de Pape, should keep them happy. A big selection of seafood including a baked salmon. Farm chicken with a vegetable bake, don't know what that is exactly, but the Aussies all seemed to rave about it. Dessert is home made Pavlova and fruit salad.

I do understand that all the other guests being Aussies, that somewhere along the line that beer is involved.

Fletch.
 

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Christmas Day for me is different again.

Thailand being a Buddhist country does not celebrate Christmas obviously. Two weeks back they had their festival called Song Kran. Everyone buys small boats made of banana leaves into which they place a candle and a few Baht. These boats are then pushed out into whatever body of water may be available, seas,rivers, ponds even baths for flat dwellers. The signification is that you are getting rid of all problems for the coming year when the boat floats away, hopefully it does not return to you. Many hot air Chinese lanterns are released at the same time. It is a great sight down at the beach nearby, hundreds of people and lanterns in the evening. All followed by eating and celebrating the New Year, which , in the Buddhist calendar will be 2558.

For me on the 25 th will be a swim at ten. Followed by a visit to the nearby Temple for a cup of chai with the monks and a chat about English football clubs of which they know lots and I know nothing. Carrots and bananas for the six resident jumbos, no reindeers around here, or turkeys for that matter. For lunch I am joining some Australian friends that live nearby for a pool party and dinner. Everyone contributes something. I have provided the entrees by bringing over a nice fois gras and homemade fig and nut preserve to accompany along with a two bottles of Chateau Neuf de Pape, should keep them happy. A big selection of seafood including a baked salmon. Farm chicken with a vegetable bake, don't know what that is exactly, but the Aussies all seemed to rave about it. Dessert is home made Pavlova and fruit salad.

I do understand that all the other guests being Aussies, that somewhere along the line that beer is involved.

Fletch.
and the breast of duck to you Fletch, enjoy life while you can. The big advantage/disadvantage of where we will be going is no internet/wifi which means we will miss the Queen's speech, something I have managed to do for about 62 years so far, N°63 coming up.
 

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and the breast of duck to you Fletch, enjoy life while you can. The big advantage/disadvantage of where we will be going is no internet/wifi which means we will miss the Queen's speech, something I have managed to do for about 62 years so far, N°63 coming up.
Greetings Balders and Mdme. B. You do realize that you are fast approaching the date when you receive that" special" telegram from Her Maj. If you don't watch the speeches, she will cross you off the list.

Happy Christmas.Fletch.
 

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Greetings Balders and Mdme. B. You do realize that you are fast approaching the date when you receive that" special" telegram from Her Maj. If you don't watch the speeches, she will cross you off the list.

Happy Christmas.Fletch.
I think that there is a great likelihood that expats don't get them or won't by the time I'm due, in any case, do jellygrams still exist?

Having a monarchy has its upsides and downsides. For one, we don't have to go through all that crap they are having in the USA but, on the other hand while we don't get to choose who's 'in charge' there is the possibility that we could end up with big ears and 'er.
 

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Having a monarchy has its upsides and downsides. For one, we don't have to go through all that crap they are having in the USA but, on the other hand while we don't get to choose who's 'in charge' there is the possibility that we could end up with big ears and 'er.
Ah, but Baldy, you Brits still have elections, which is the main bit of "crap" the US is having to endure at the moment. Or, there is the French approach to the subject: we still have a monarchy, but they let the peasants vote every now and then to decide which royal gets what position for the next couple of years. The campaigns are relatively controlled, but it's the aftermath we peasants still have to deal with!
Cheers,
Bev
 
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