France’s Big Night is Christmas Eve: Tips for You in 5 Videos

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For the visual learners amongst us, Frenchly took to YouTube this week to find some videos of Christmas traditions in France that we think you can recreate at home. We wanted to find a few easy how to’s that you can have playing in the background osmosis-style these last two hectic weeks before Christmas (while you’re cooking, wrapping, cleaning or just need to sit down!) with the hope that you might find some inspiration for a little French whimsy or flair to add to your Christmases.
In this first video, you’ll learn how to pronounce the words Réveillon du Noël, which can be casually translated as, “The really late night when we all stay up after Christmas Eve mass and eat lots of amazing courses of food and drink lots of wine and wait till the sun comes up or the kids wake up, whichever happens first, so that we can start eating all over again.” You’ll also find out about the bûche de Noël and why it’s the favorite end of meal sweet for le Réveillon and what the French use instead of stockings by the chimney.

This next totally charming video complied from interviews at a Christmas market in Paris is both a French and a cultural lesson all in one from Easy French. We love how there are both French and English subtitles so you can read along in French while listening.  Meals and gifts are highlighted here, with attention paid to the traditions of opening gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve for some families and also eating lots and lots of seafood for le Réveillon. (Frenchly has this link here with a very French how to for the meal.) Look out for a real Santa in this video who once got a really annoying Christmas gift!

Here’s another video from the France 24 duo, only this one gets a bit more specific with the dinner and there are some rules and ideas for New Years included at the end. This takes into account the entire holiday season.

This video, below, is a cooking tutorial for how to make duck a l’orange (though you could of it with chicken, too) and how to make paté, also. Two ideas that might eb easy and fun French foods to try next week!

This last video is from designer and YouTuber Justine Leconte and is about how her very large and very French family does Christmas. She talks about shopping, Christmas markets as a kind of antidepressant, the foods her family makes (cookies, truffles, oysters with lemon, salt and butter on bread, etc.), kids who try to catch Santa, singing and more. She’s a dear, creative, intelligent and extremely articulate person. Check it out, below:

Caitlin Shetterly is the Editor-in-Chief of Frenchly. She is also the author of 4 books: Fault Lines, Made for You and MeModified and the upcoming novel, Pete and Alice in Maine, which will be published in 2023 by Harper. She is a native daughter and she lives with her two sons and husband in an old house on the coast of Maine. 

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