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SW France Life Concerns


Advice about Christmas pressure

Katie Gardner is a fully qualified CBT Counsellor and 11-year expat based on the border of 47/24.  She is here to answer your questions.

Katie Gardner

Samantha J

The pressure is on.  Do I return to see the family at “home” or do I stay here in France and risk their disapproval?  I haven’t managed to spend a Christmas in France yet and have friends I would love to share it with.


Hi Samantha

Ah yes, the annual problem of spreading oneself too thinly!  Only you really know the level, if there would indeed be one, of disapproval you would receive from your “home” family but perhaps the answer might be to celebrate it twice as many of us do over here.

As you are aware, Christmas per se in France is generally pretty quiet (outside of the cities) and it can in fact be a bit disappointing, especially for children.  Traditionally, the French start to celebrate on Christmas Eve (Le Réveillon), often with the meal going on late into the evening when, at around midnight, the children are finally allowed to open their presents.  The Christmas markets here are, of course, definitely worth a visit but they will be around for most of the festive period so you can visit anytime.

So, why not Christmas itself at “home” and a “do” with friends on your return.  This would also take the pressure off from the shopping, prepping, cooking, serving and clearing of a major culinary undertaking on Christmas Day itself – bonus!

Whatever you decide to do, je vous souhaite, à vos proches, et à tous ceux qui lisent ceci, joyeuses fêtes de fin d’année!!

advice about christmas pressure

Enjoying Christmas with family and friends doesn't have to be difficult

First published in the November/December issue of The Local Buzz

Images: Shutterstock and Katie Gardner