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What are your favorite traditions and activities to take part in during the holiday season? Creating a Christmas bucket list is so much fun! I love to make a Christmas bucket list filled with fun holiday activities and traditions to enjoy with my friends, family, spouse, and myself.
From putting up Christmas lights to decorating cookies to joining my family at church, I love to do it all during the holiday season.
I have always wanted to spend time in France during the Christmas season. I believe it would be so magical to see the Eiffel Tower lighting up on Christmas Eve, trees and decorations all throughout the cities, and eating French pastries.
Since I am only dreaming about visiting France during the Christmas season, I thought it would be fun to make a French Christmas bucket list this year! So, let’s get into the Christmas spirit and see how we can put a French spin on it this year!
Are French Traditions the Same as the States?
Many of the traditions that we practice in the United States aren’t seen in France, but some of them are.
Singing Christmas carols, stockings hung by the fire, and Christmas day dinners are not something you will see much of in France
I will explain the differences below so that you can fill your Christmas bucket list with French traditions and lots of cheer!
Magical French Christmas Bucket List Ideas
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Bring France inside your home by decorating the Christmas tree with a French theme.
Add ornaments shaped like macarons, baguettes, France, the French flag, the Eiffel Tower, and more! Your tree can scream French with cute ornaments like these!
Glass ornaments, dried fruit and nuts, and wooden ornaments are popular for Christmas trees in France. Tinsel is also very common when decorating a tree in France!
Decorate the House
Decorating my house for Christmas is always one of my favorite things to do each year! It’s so magical to transform your home into a winter wonderland with Christmas decorations
Many people who live in France only decorate the insides of their homes. You are likely to see Christmas decorations in villages, but Christmas decorations happen inside homes, especially in rural areas of France.
To decorate your home with a French style, you should have a Christmas tree, and wreaths (homemade are the best!), and don’t forget the lavish nativity scene!
Don’t Forget the Nativity Scene
Nativity scenes are something you are sure to find in a French home during the holiday season. Nativity scenes are usually more elaborate than the typical nativity scene found in an American home.
They are a beautiful reminder of why Christmas time is so special and the reason the Christmas season is celebrated.
I love to put my nativity scene out each year, but I am going to mine much bigger this year.
Advent calendars can be so much fun for the kids and adults! An Advent calendar is used to count the days until the advent, and most of them start on December 1st. You are sure to find an Advent calendar in almost all Frenchmans’ homes during the Christmas season!
There are so many different types of Advent calendars ranging from chocolates for the kiddos to small toys to wine for the adults. There are different styles, themes, and types of Advent calendars as well.
Find something that you will enjoy and have fun counting down the days until Advent with your friends or family.
Related Post: Why the French Love Baskets + What to Use Them For
Enjoy a Yule Log
Most of us know a yule log by the sweet, scrumptious dessert that we’ve eaten at Christmas, but that’s not where it comes from.
A yule log is a log that has been specially selected to be burned on Christmas Eve as a sign of good luck. It is a tradition in many parts of Europe, including France.
So this year, when you are eating your sweet treat, remember the origin of the yule log!
Celebrate with The King Cake
The King Cake is a beautiful tradition. I enjoyed learning more about what The King Cake is and where it originates. I can’t wait to try it with my family. The King Cake is eaten on January 6th in honor of the Epiphany (the Twelfth Night), which is when the three wise men came to Bethlehem.
In France, The King Cake is a pastry cake with a pretty pattern, topped with a crown, and usually has a bean hidden on the inside.
Whoever finds the bean is said to have good luck, and gets to be ‘king’ for a day! What a fun tradition to start with your family or friends this year.
Host a Dinner Party on Christmas Eve
Having a big dinner on Christmas Eve is a very special and important tradition for French people.
The Réveillon is a time for family to come together, and enjoy a large meal with special foods and delicacies.
They get to spend time together, socialize, and have a magical experience together celebrating Christmas.
The types of food enjoyed during this Christmas Eve dinner vary throughout the country, but you can believe it will be an amazing feast to be enjoyed!
Eat Thirteen Desserts
Does this sound crazy? I thought so when I first heard it, too. Eating thirteen desserts after a huge meal seems like a lot!
The thirteen desserts symbolize the twelve apostles and Jesus. The desserts range from dried fruit and nuts to cake.
After the feast on Christmas Eve, each person should eat one of each of the thirteen desserts. This will bring good luck to each person for the coming year.
Go to Church
Many people will be seen at church on Christmas Eve, and even on Christmas day in America.
People in France who celebrate Christmas will be seen at midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Each family member will attend Midnight Mass after their big dinner!
No matter which one you choose, going to church for a Christmas service is always a good idea.
If you want to feel more like a French person, then find a Midnight Mass to attend in your area.
Who doesn’t love to receive Christmas cards? I know I do! It makes me smile whenever I get a Christmas card in the mail because I know that person thought about me.
Spread some Christmas cheer this year by sending out Christmas cards to people.
Watch Christmas Movies
Cuddle up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and the Christmas lights on to watch your favorite Christmas movies.
If you want to add some French Christmas movies into the mix, check out these suggestions!
Sing French Christmas Carols
What are your favorite Christmas carols? Jingle Bells, Silent Night, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are some of my favorites.
Although the French enjoy a Christmas carol every once in a while, they aren’t on blast in every store, car, and home like we do in America.
Most carols come from other countries, or they’re hymns. Enjoy Christmas music by learning some of your favorite Christmas carols in French.
Baking cookies is a great way to spend an evening at home.
Find a recipe for your favorite Christmas cookies and have the best time making them with your family or friends!
Leave Your Shoes by the Fireplace
In France, they don’t hang the stockings by the fireplace. A tradition that is unique in France is that they leave their shoes by the fireplace instead of stockings.
In France, children leave their shoes by the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with goodies instead of hanging a stocking.
It’s so exciting to wake up on Christmas morning with lots of goodies in your shoes!
Search for the Perfect French Gift
Get in the festive spirit and go Christmas shopping! It is always so much fun to find the perfect gift for the people on my Christmas list. I love to see the look and smile on their face when they open it.
In France, they have beautiful open Christmas markets for people to go shopping. The market stalls have beautiful decorations, fun gifts, and tasty treats!
If you get to visit France during the Christmas season, make sure to visit the best Christmas markets there!
If you want to go French this year, check out some of my favorite French gifts here!
Put up a Mistletoe
One of my traditions is to kiss under the mistletoe! I think it’s a cute and sweet tradition.
In France, this tradition is different than the tradition in the United States. Don’t worry, though, you can still put up your mistletoe, it just has a different meaning to the French!
The mistletoe means good luck for the new year. Hang it to walk under to bring good luck for the coming year (and sneak in a kiss with your partner)!
Spend Time with Family
One of the best things about Christmas is family!
Whether you live near or far, make sure to spend time with your family for Christmas. Take a road trip, plan a family dinner, or visit one of your local favorite restaurants.
Have a good time with your family, and make tons of memories that will last.
Drink Mulled Wine
Christmas is the perfect time of year to drink mulled wine! Although you won’t see mulled wine in many French homes (you will find wine and champagne at Christmas festivities), you are sure to find it at the French Christmas Markets.
It’s the perfect treat for shopping on a cold winter day.
If you want to make your own mulled wine at home, this is a great recipe to follow!
I have always dreamed of having mulled wine while enjoying a beautiful white Christmas and the company of my family.
Which of these ideas do you want to add to your bucket list?
Grab your Christmas pajamas, a pen, and some hot chocolate, and get to work making your French Christmas bucket list with this free bucket list printable!
How are you going to add a little bit of France to your Christmas this year? I would love to hear new ideas!
Until next time,