Today, our family was discussing some of the observations we’ve made about Christmas in France and I thought you might be curious. Plus, I wanted a good excuse to to share some photos of our ornaments. : )

– December 1st was the first day I saw real Christmas Trees for sale. Corner tree lots don’t really exist. Instead, you can find them inside the big grocery stores, under a big tent in the grocery store parking lot, or at a Nursery.

-Potted trees are widely available everywhere trees are sold. They seem to be very common here. Cut trees are also available and fun fact: they aren’t kept in water. There are metal tree stands that have just enough room for a trunk, or some tree are placed in half logs (very charming! — I need to take a photo). For our tree, we filled a metal milk bucket with wet sand and put the cut trunk in that. It’s holding up nicely.

– There is no Black Friday. In fact, shopping only started to ramp up this week, as evidenced by shops that starting to extend their hours a bit.

– Community Christmas lights, on streetlamps and main streets, are everywhere. Everywhere! Even the teeniest, tiniest little villages have them.

– Students learn Christmas songs at school, and make Christmas projects to bring home as gifts, but they do not give Christmas gifts to teachers. (Take that! to do list.)

– Every thing is smaller. There are wreaths, but they are petite. There are a few outdoor santas and reindeer, but they’re about half the size of anything you’d find in the U.S.

– The only tree lights we’ve seen are LED (and not inexpensive).

– Fancy boxes of chocolates are everywhere! They seem to be the go-to gift.

How about you? Have you ever spent Christmas in another country? What did you observe?