Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Around the World for Christmas – Wine and Cheese, Please

The custom in France around the holidays is to spend time with family and friends, which is so much the tradition throughout the world during this season. They wine, they dine, they sing and they worship together.

They don’t much care for decorating that tree, however. The French are more inclined to burn a Yule log rather than put up a tree, and even the Yule log is seeing a decline in use across the country. The southern parts of the country still hold on to the tradition of letting the log burn from Christmas Eve until New Years Day. The Yule log is a large hardwood log that is traditional in European countries.

French custom dictates that the almost every home have a Nativity scene as part of the decorations for the Christmas season. The Nativity is the center of the celebration for most families, and the figures that are included in the scene are generally handmade out of clay. The figures are known as “santons” and are created by craftsmen throughout the year. Christmas fairs find these figures for sale from a variety of craftsmen.

Blu was happy to see that one of his relatives was included in this santon collection carved by Santons Richard.

The figures are not necessarily of the Christ child and His family, but can include sheep, villagers, peasants and a goose or two. The favorite pastime is to arrange the figures in the Nativity scene.

Christmas Eve is the time when the children drop their shoes or clogs on the fireplace hearth. These shoes are called sabots, and they are a regular part of European footwear. They are a shoe with a band of leather across the tops, and they can be wood or leather. These shoes are the equivalent of the hanging of the stockings for the United States children.

Pere Noel is the one who will be filling those shoes for all the good children. Pere Noel travels with a crotchety old dude who goes by the name of Pere Fouettard who is quick to point out which ones of those little darlings were bad, bad, bad. Pssst – he is known as the Whipping Father….. It is unclear whether or not rotten children are yanked from their beds and severely beaten about the buttocks with a Nerf bat or not. That part of the legend is rather shrouded in mist….

If this depiction of Pere Fouettard is any indication, he has a whip. I’m just sayin’….

Blessed be the good children though; they will reap great rewards as Pere Noel heaps lots of gifts upon them, as well as nuts, fruits and small toys that he hangs about hearth. He carries his gifts on his back in a basket called a hotte. This basket closely resembles the grape baskets carried in the vineyards.

Adults wait until New Years Day to exchange their gifts.

The telling of the story of Christmas is celebrated throughout all the churches and cathedrals on Christmas Eve. After the services, people gather for a feast that has regional differences. Le reveillon, which means to reawake, is filled with menu items such as oysters and pat de foie gra in Paris, or goose in Alsace. This meal can be anything that is locally traditional, and it was traditionally celebrated by those returning from church services. The meal is now enjoyed all over the country regardless of whether or not someone has been to the Christmas Eve services. It no longer has to be a home cooked meal, but can be enjoyed in a restaurant as well.

The Christmas Log is a Yule log shaped cake that has been specially created for the Christmas meal. Those who celebrate the holiday with a grand feast will include a Christmas Log.

Looks pretty yummy to me.

After the dinner is served and before heading off to bed, the family will leave a fire burning and set out food and drink for the Virgin Mary, as is believed that she visits the homes on Christmas Eve.

I think you will find that it pays to be good in France, lest you be beaten silly by that crazy Pere Fouettard, and you may well find yourself with at least one of these wonderful gifts from the talented and lovely artisans behind these creations.


Adjustable Bracelet Green Lampwork Glass Crystals Gemstone Handmade


Peacock Green and Silver Hand Beaded Geneva Soutache Watch


Handmade Crochet Cotton Mint Green Baby Booties


Handmade Crochet Hand Towel Holder for the Kitchen Makes a Great Gift!


Agate green necklace in handmade Green brown

large bead embroidery stone necklace Big embroidered agates collar


Green and White Patchwork Pot Holder With Pocket


Handmade Rocking Horse Christmas Bulb Ornament


Red and Green Scalloped Crocheted Lace Floral Doily - Winter Holidays


Creepy Spiders Green Halloween Dog Collar Slipcover Bandana


Sage Green Lampwork Beads Frosted Handmade Sea Glass Etched Round 019e


Alligator Door Sign for Birthday Party or Children Bedroom Nursery


Holly Berry Handmade Artisan Soap Red Green Christmas Cold Process


Broken Wine Bottle Wreath Christmas Ornament, 3 Inches, Handmade Green


Tropical Rain Forest Lizard Necklace and Earring Set


Morning Glory Flower Note Card Set of Two - Original Artwork - by Reflections of Kayla


Custom Flower Tie Back - Curtain Tie Back


Knit Neck Warmer, Mint green, Pastels Cream, Crocheted lace


Antique Postcard Christmas Eve Salor's Greetings - Digital Hand Designed Art


Christmas Green Aventurine Gemstone and Dichroic Glass Necklace


Christmas Necklace Red Green Lampwork Bead with Swarovski Crystals


Green Wood Beads and Jade Gemstone Gold Choker Necklace


Hand Knit Holiday Tree All Cotton Picture Dishcloth or Washcloth


Apple Green Howlite and Czech Olivine Multi Wrapped Summer Bracelet


Christmas red green seed bead wire wrapped oval bangle bracelet set


Amber Green Shimmering Cats Eyes Dichroic Earrings Sterling Silver


Shades of Green Charm Toggle Bracelet


Peach Green Yellow Black Gray Gemstone Stack bangle bracelet Handmade


Victorian Revival Filigree Pendant Emerald Green Faceted Glass Setting


Green Bead and Wire Clover Bracelet


Christmas Peppermint Candy Lampwork Sterling Earrings Handmade Green


Lucky Horseshoe Covered in Holly Red Robins and Snow Covered Bridge

and home on vintage Christmas Postcard 1912


Wire Wrapped Glass Pendant on Chain Necklace, Copper, Emerald Green


Peacock Dream Catcher


White Plumeria Wall Hanging with Green Leaves and Beads in Centers


Crystal Prism Beaded Window Suncatcher Ornament


Finish a toast to the French and bid them au revoir and Joyeux Noël.

Mittens, hats and gloves, let us get bundled up, so we can be on our way to the next stop!


Julie and Blu


  1. Love the green greens! Thank you for doing this and including me. Off to share :)

  2. It's so fantastic and enjoyable how you deliver this information about different cultures at Christmas time Julie. Such a treat to read! Thank you so much for doing this extra promotion as if you're not doing enough already, its really appreciated. Thank you also for including my watch. I will share.
    Kathy :)

  3. Another fascinating post, Julie and Blu (by the way, Blu, I was glad to see one of your relatives in the Nativity scene, too!). Have always been intrigued by the Yule log and how they get it to burn for so long (maybe multi Yule logs?). Man, what a creepy Pere Fouettard, but I'm sure Seamus would protect me (: Thank you for such a fun, informative post and for including my peppermint earrings. Will share far and wide.

  4. I'm so excited to be included with these other great artists. Jeanpatchbymk and Delecto Art formerly Reflections of Kayla Thank You!!! Wahoo!

  5. Amazing, thank you so much:) Best wishes:)

  6. Very interesting reading about Christmas in France. My grandmother (father's mother) was born there. She died when I was four, so I never really got to know her, but I bet she would have told me about the French traditions. I bet she was a good girl, too. Thank you for sharing, Julie, and showing my seed bead bangle bracelets. lol, at Blu's relative. :)

  7. Thank you for a great post! It inspires me to get back to stitching for Christmas. Thank you for including Keli and our Creepy Spiders Halloween bandana.

  8. Thanks for the post and including my plumeria wall hanging. I was trying to remember what we talked about when I was still teaching. Then it came to me, we talked about the way that the French wished each other Merry Christmas and then made a Noel banner. They didn't like the idea of Pere Fouettard at all!
    Wonder where our trip will take us next week!

  9. Well, I don't want to be caught being naughty, so I will get right to work sharing these lovelies.

  10. Thanks!

    The yule log looks yummy to me too!

    Will tweet your post and I appreciate you doing this!


  11. Thank you for sharing a French Christmas. Beautiful greens in this collection, thank you for including my bracelet.

  12. This week's selections and the essay about French Crhistmas traditions were superb! My wedding cake (December 28, 28 years ago) was a Buche de Noel from a French bakery in Seattle. And yes, it was yummy.

  13. Enjoyed hearing all about French traditions and learning a little more. Work hard, eat well, be good and enjoy some of that delicious french food! There are a lot of goodies to choose from in your beautiful collection that are sure to make great gifts for everyone!

  14. Another fun and informative read! I've been pinning these Around the World for Christmas posts to one of my Pinterest boards. Lots of beautiful green items for gift giving!

  15. Love this French Christmas. And look at Blu's cousin! Fascinating to read of the French holiday traditions. Thank you for doing this and for including my bracelet.

  16. What a fun and fabulous post! So interesting - and such wonderful green picks! Many thanks for including my bracelet with all these beauties. Gonze wishes Blu lots of treats! :)

  17. Love the Green theme through all the Gift Ideas -- and the story of Family celebrations in France! Thanks for showing my Red and Green Scalloped Lace Doily - it is French Country Thread Crochet!!!

  18. Lovely greens for Christmas, thank you for including my necklace, Sharing.

  19. Gorgeous Christmas Greens! We celebrate on Christmas Eve being Ukrainian Catholic. I absolutely love our Christmas celebrating traditions. I was brought up to believe baby Jesus brought the gifts. How sweet is that?!
    Thanks for the beautiful spread Julie.

  20. Beautiful collection of green gift ideas - thank you for including my broken wine bottle ornament:) Its so interesting hearing about the traditions in other countries. Thank you!

  21. What a great post. The green items you chose are beautiful. I'll be rereading this.

  22. A very interesting article about how others spend their Christmas. The green items are so lovely.

  23. I am so enjoying these Christmas Time history lessons. I did not know about the Yule log burning the entire Christmas week or about the children placing their shoes out to be filled like we do stockings. Your blog posts are excellent. Keep up the good work and thanks for including my green item.

  24. I so enjoyed this article, Julie! Learned quite a bit of French tradition during Christmas. It's always fascinating to learn about other cultures. And thank you for including my Alligator Door Sign. :-)
    Off to share!

  25. All these beautiful greens make me think of the rich smell of pine and spruce boughs. Thank you for another voyage to celebrate the holidays and peep at how the French enjoy their yearly traditions. Will share.

  26. What a wonderful way to learn about celebrations around the world! Thank you for writing these blogs and for including all of our work. You amaze me!

  27. This puts me in the mood for Christmas!