Although Christmas is celebrated with pretty much the same fervour in all parts of the world, the French have a slightly different style of their own. Traditional French Christmas decorations are more homely and during this time of the season, French homes dress up in festive colours.
Christmas tree decorations, candles and other features associated with a Christmas celebration remains intact, but, the French follow a unique style and most of their traditions are centuries old. So, if you would like to follow a few traditional French Christmas decorating ideas, read on to find out how you can do so.
1. The French Christmas Tree Or Sapin De Noel
The French refer to the Christmas tree as Sapin De Noel and is one of the most important parts of their celebrations. The fir trees are commonly used by the French for Christmas. These can either be elaborately decorated or can have a simple homely and traditional décor. Instead of putting up ornamental Christmas decorations on the trees, often red ribbons are used for decorating the trees. Glass or plastic ornaments that resemble the apples that were traditionally hung from Christmas trees in France are also used for decorating the trees. Small white candles are also used for decorating the French Christmas trees.
Another significant addition to the décor consists of a big star on top of the tree. Even pictures of baby Jesus or an angel is arranged on the tree top. And to make the Christmas tree extremely desirable to the children, different types of edible items consisting of fruits, nuts, chocolates and sweets are hanged from the tree on Christmas Eve. It also has some small toys dangling from the tree.
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2. Use Of Mistletoe
French Christmas celebrations are incomplete without the use of mistletoe. It is considered to bring good luck and every household in France hangs mistletoe on the doors during Christmas. It is kept till New Year and there is a belief that if you kiss it at midnight, luck will favour you and you’ll be filled with happiness and prosperity in the coming year.
3. Shoes Instead Of Stockings
Santa is said to fill the stockings with gifts during Christmas. And kids all over the world love to believe this tale. However, in France, children are not fascinated with stockings or Santa Clause. They believe in Pere Noel, Santa’s French version,and leave their shoes instead of stockings for special gifts from Pere Noel.
4. Special Candle Decorations
A special wreath is constructed in French homes during Christmas. This is kept on the table and is used for keeping four red candles. On the first Sunday, 4 weeks before 25th December, the first of these candles would be lighted by the family members. One by one, all the other candles would be lighted in the coming Sundays before Christmas.
5. Creating The Nativity Scene
Every French home recreates the native scene with baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, different types of animals and the countrymen. Also known as the creche, it is kept in the living room and can be elaborate or simple, depending on individual preferences.