Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas is Coming!

Now that we're into December and the weather has finally become cold enough for it to feel like winter (well, it did yesterday - today we're back up around 11 or 12 degrees, which in my book is a bit too hot to be indulging in vin chaud and extra-cosy jumpers), I'm allowing myself to start looking forward to Christmas.

In recent years, actual Christmas has often been quite low-key compared to the days leading up to it (although last year's family extravaganza in the Lake District was fun), but this year Understanding Frenchman and I are spending Christmas together in France with his family, for the first time, believe it or not, and there will be small children and Santa Claus and lots of excitement, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Yesterday my hiking friends and I held our annual Christmas walk and cake competition. Every year, we go for a stroll to work up an appetite, then go back to someone's house for a competition where everybody brings a cake and we vote for the best one. I originally wanted to take a Bûche de Noël  but didn't get around to buying all the ingredients in time to have a practice, plus it would have been a bit difficult to transport on a 10km hike. I ended up making mini Christmas logs involving caramel, speculoos biscuits and chocolate which Understanding Frenchman immediately and unsupportively nicknamed crottes parisiennes . I personally thought they tasted delicious, but first place went to a friend's beautiful cheesecake, so they didn't win.

Admittedly, they do look a bit like something you find all too often on Parisian pavements.
Every year in December I make up my mind to send Christmas cards, which isn't a tradition at all in France. Some people send cards in January, but most people seem to just phone their friends for new year wishes. As a result, Christmas cards are hard to find, and most years I've either ended up with no cards, no postal addresses for people or both and had to give up. Since our wedding, however, I do actually have addresses for everyone, so this year's challenge was finding the cards. Sometimes I have a supply bought in the UK, but this year I had none, so being in touch with my crafty side after last August's efforts, I decided to make some.

Christmas Card Production

One thing the wedding definitely taught me, however, was that while personally-designed things are lovely, personally handmade projects become extremely annoying after about the first three items, and that the photocopier can be the amateur stationery designer's best friend. I drew a simple picture in black and white which I photocopied on to card, then sat like a happy eight-year old with my felt tips and swanky silver gel pens (also left over from the wedding) and coloured in. I'm pretty contented with the results, but we'll see if the satisfaction is enough to get me through the long process of writing, addressing and actually taking them to the post office.

Next up is decorating the flat. I would have loved a proper tree, but we're away for two whole weeks over Christmas, so it's not really worth it, so I'll just have to get creative with baubles and coloured paper as usual.


  1. I wish French had a card tradition. This is something I adopted from Canada (British influence, we love cards and stationary here!) and I do mail quite a few holiday cards every year.

  2. I'm impressed! Good tip with the photocopier!

  3. Your cards are great! It's nice that you hand-colored each one, too. At my previous job in Paris, I remember that I was the only one who gave Christmas cards. We didn't have a holiday party, either, although I know other companies in France do.