By North American standards, Christmas in France is a pretty restrained affair. As in, seriously restrained. (Turning that around, of course, you could say that Christmas in North America has grown completely out of bounds.) In any case, decorations tend to be tasteful, minimalist, or non-existent.
Here in Daglan, for example, small Christmas trees (real pines) have been installed at each major intersection of roads leading into the village. A tree has also been placed in the courtyard next to our home, up against the natural spring from which our area (La Fontaine) takes its name. But none of those trees are decorated yet, there’s no “main” tree in the village square, and it’s already December 10. [Radio Free Daglan Newsflash: As of 6 p.m. this evening, our neighbour and her two daughters are decorating the tree in our courtyard. Yay!] Only a few homes have Christmas lights on their exteriors, and they’re usually restricted to a strand or two of lights.
But just the other night, as my wife Jan and I were driving north to the “bio” (organic) food store in Saint-Cybranet, we were nearly blinded by a domestic display of Christmas lights and decorations that nearly reached North American proportions.
And here it is:
As for us, we’re behaving in a quite French manner, so far. Our “decorations” currently consist of the four Christmas cards we’ve received up until now. They’re on the mantle. Hey — it’s a start!