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Christmas v Noël
Life and Style

Christmas traditions: Are the Brits more creative than the French?


France and the UK share a number of traditions: the Christmas tree, the Advent calendar, Father Christmas and midnight mass. But when it comes to Christmas, for the French, Christmas is primarily about food, midnight mass and presents but for the Brits Christmas is about a long list of traditions.

On the English side: Christmas jumpers, crackers and Pantomimes

In the UK, the Christmas period is characterised by numerous idiosyncrasies and customs, which are mostly designed to enjoy the festive season with family and friends!

Christmas Fair

The period starts with Christmas fairs, taking place throughout November and December, and featuring arts and crafts in school playgrounds or churches. 

Christmas Wear

Throughout the month of December, the Brits are not ashamed of wearing Christmas jumpers, ties and bow ties. Even at their workplace!


Pantomimes: a typical British Christmas tradition that punctuates the British December agenda and that no foreigner could completely understand. How confusing to see men dressed as women and women as men. And what about the "Oh yes he did!" "Oh no he didn't!" 

Christmas Party

In the UK, the office Christmas party is "de rigueur". Attending such a party successfully means completing several challenges: choosing the right outfit, not drinking too much, avoiding awkward silences and looking both smart and relaxed. Why is it a challenge? Well for one, everyone drinks too much, no one behaves appropriately and what happens on the night is never mentioned again.

Christmas carols

The period is also punctuated with Christmas carols. 

The Queen's Christmas speech

On Christmas Day: the Queen's Christmas speech is an absolute must-see!

Christmas Food

The Christmas dinner, served on Christmas Day, stuffed roast turkey or goose, with bacon and sausages, honey-roast carrots, Brussel sprouts, mince pies and of course Christmas pudding with brandy butter or brandy sauce or both. 

Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers and paper crown hats give the dinner a colourful touch. 

Christmas Cards

Throughout December the sending and receiving of Christmas cards whether electronic or otherwidse is also part of the festivities. 

On the French side: food, food and food ...and wine!

At Christmas, French people focus mainly on the family dinner, which can either be served on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day - or both! The wide selection of food prepared explains why "going on a diet" often features in most French people's New Year's resolutions...

Seafood plater

A typical Christmas dinner often starts with a seafood plater. 

Foie gras

Some boycott "foie gras" because of the way the geese and ducks are treated to obtain it, but this starter remains a great gastronomic classic. 

Dinde aux marrons

Roast turkey served with chestnuts remains one of the main traditions although it is often replaced by capon or goose. 

Cheese plater

Christmas is the occasion to enjoy a wide selection of cheeses. 

Yule log

In France, Christmas is not Christmas without a Yule log.


Of course, all those delicious meals are accompanied by fine wines and Champagne. 


What about you? What is your favourite Christmas tradition?


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