December 27, 2010

mon Noël francais.

My first French christmas was amazing :) In fact, its not that much different from Christmas back in the states. Christmas Eve was spent cooking for the big dinner that night- I made a buche de Noel with the help of Isabelle. It is a rolled cake that is the traditional dessert of Christmas. It was really yummy.

We went to church that night which was freezing because they didnt turn the heat on... we were like ice cubes. After church Patrice's parents and sister came over for dinner. We ate and ate and ate and ate... :) we had escargots, shellfish, and foie gras pour our first dish. Then we had some sort of fowl with apples and raisons for our main course, then cheese and then our dessert. It was good :) We also had a little christmas exchange that night with Patrice's family. Before going to bed we all had to put a pair of shoes under the tree because one of the French traditions is that Santa puts the presents next to your shoes so in the morning you know whos are whos. It was funny :)

The next morning (NOEL!) we woke up at like 10ish and then opened our presents. One difference I noticed is that everyone opens their presents at the same time. there isnt any "All eyes on [so and so]" like in my family. My family was so nice and gave me really nice gifts. I got cookbooks and a personalized journal and lots more. oh and a 5 KILO JAR OF NUTELLA! hahaha that is about 11 pounds.... definitley will need some help eating that.

After opening presents we had a little breakfast of toast and jam and nutella and then we went into paris because Amandine had a horseback riding lesson (talk about dedication!). After the lesson we went to the Champs-Eylsees to visit the Christmas market and the ice sculture display. It was really beautiful and surreal to be in Paris for Christmas.

It was a really really nice Christmas and was only a little hard for me to be away from my family. It didn't feel 100% like christmas since it wasn't the same traditions and I wasn't with my family, but it was still a great christmas :)

The next day was ANOTHER christmas!!! This time with Isabelle's family. Her mom loves christmas and every year plans a themed Christmas party. This year it was Christmas around the world and the colors were red and white. Everyone had to cut out a picture of a person from a different country and make a little ornament to hang on the tree and bring a dish from another country (We brought american cookies and brownies). There were more presents there too! It was really nice of everyone to include me :)Also, my family surprised me with a candle to blow out for my 4th month in France. I had completely forgotten with all the christmas stuff going on. I can't believe its already been 4 months. wow.

Yesterday was yet another little Christmas, this time with my 2nd host family. We ate lots of desserts and exchanged more gifts. They gave me a bag full of French specialties and a really nice pen set (one is a plume which i can use for calligraphy!) to use in my new journal! it was so nice!

I am so thankful for the amazing christmas I had and for my 2 amazing French families. With the Gabelotaud's we were talking about how funny it will be to have all 3 of my families together when my family comes to France. The language barrier will be the funniest :) But i think it will be cool to because the French will be able to use their English and mom will be able to use her French (john too! haha)
Anyway, I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!!!! only 4 more days until 2011! wow!!!!



  1. i am so happy you had a great christmas Emily. what great families you have.

    it might be fun to include the things you have learned about the French holiday in our celebration.

    we missed you but knew you were in a great place.

  2. Wow, Em. sounds like you are having a super fun holiday. It will be so fun for you (and us) to show us around Paris.
    Your host families have been sooo good to you. that makes me happy.