ESL – Xmas in France (vocabulary) Part 2

9 December

Xmas Vocabulary


Let’s start by clicking on this link to enjoy listening to one of the best loved sounds of Xmas:  ‘ The Christmas Song ‘  . This recording became one of the defining performances of Nat King Cole’s career.  Sometimes the song is referred to as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” from the lyrics in the song’s first line.

Right now, across France, here are seven traditions you could be expecting:

1 – Le Sapin de Noël – The Christmas Tree

For Christmas, traditions asks that you go get a Christmas Tree “un sapin de Noël”, decorate it and set it in your house. Some people would plant theirs back in their yard. Most will just get a cut tree and throw it away when it is dry. Nowadays, many people prefer to have a synthetic tree you can fold and reuse every year.

It’s not really clear when to set up the “sapin de Noël”. Some set it on Saint Nicholas’ day (December 6th) and remove it on the 3 Kings Day (l’Epiphanie, January 6th).

  • Le sapin de Noël – Christmas tree
  • Les aiguilles de pin – pine needles
  • Une branche – a branche
  • Une décoration – a decoration
  • Un ornement – an ornament
  • Une boule – a ball / an ornament
  • Une guirlande – a garland
  • Une guirlande électrique – an electrical garland
  • L’étoile – the star

2 – La Couronne de Noël – Christmas Wreath

Another Christmas Tradition is to use wreaths on your doors, or sometimes as a table centrepiece. This wreath may be done of twigs, or of a fir branch, may have glitter, feature fir cones and if placed on a table, often surrounds a candle.

  • Un centre de table – a centrepiece
  • Une couronne – a wreath
  • Une brindille – a twig
  • Une branche de sapin – a fir branch
  • Une pomme de pin – a fir cone
  • Une bougie – a candle
  • Une paillette – a glitter
  • De la neige artificielle – artificial snow

3 – Le Calendrier de l’Avent – Advent Calendar

This is a special calendar for kids, to help them count the days before Christmas. Behind each number is a door, which reveals a drawing, or a nook with a treat or a little toy. This calendar is usually hung in a communal room as to remind everybody of the countdown before Christmas (and keep an eye on the “door” openings so that all the chocolates don’t get eaten before Christmas.

  • Un calendrier – a calendar
  • L’Avent – Advent
  • Une porte – a door
  • Une cachette – a hiding spot
  • Une surprise – a surprise
  • Un bonbon – a candy
  • Un chocolat – a chocolate

We will talk about 4 more Xmas traditions in a few days time.

Thank you for visiting my blog.



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