7 more weekends before Christmas! My favorite time of the year, also that time of the year where I have a bit of Nostalgia; I miss France, the beautiful architecture, great food ... but most importantly the old traditional Christmas in Provence.
Picture yourself in the South of France, with an authentic historic style wherever you wander around. Paved streets, lights and christmas decoration up, the nice smell of the popular Hot Roasted Chestnuts - with sellers standing outside of stores. And of course, some warm wine, an absolute must in the French Christmas market!
Part of old provencal christmas traditions, something that I always looked forward as a kid, is to grow wheat grains - 20 days before christmas. A tradition from Roman Era, named "Le Blé de La Sainte Barbe" brings abundance if it sprouted nicely and grew green by December 25th. We usually grow it in 3 small low dish/cups, (3 representing the Trinity).
Use 3 small dishes - some wheat grains on a wet cotton pad (to keep in the moist side).
Fun small creations you can do with your kids.
Crèche - Santons de Noël:Famous Christmas figurines from Provence, for a beautiful and unique Nativity Scene.
It is something that take usually years and years to build up, buying few pieces to compliment your collection once in a while.
Here's an alternative you can do that takes less space and will be cost effective. You can alternate small and larger size, so everyone in the family would be able to create a beautiful scene. Placed as a cluster, using mason jar - terrarium - large vase - cloche...
The 13 Desserts:
A lovely tradition for the Greedy!! "What's the point of having a sweet tooth if you don't use it?!" ;)
Be creative with that - display the food on different trays/dishes; play with the height and the disposition around your table. Lack of room, it can be placed on an end table for instance.
A ritual of 13 desserts, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The desserts always in number of thirteen but the exact items vary by local or familial tradition.
The food traditionally is set out Christmas Eve and remains on the table three days until December 27.
It gathers= Dried Fruits and nuts - Fresh Fruits and Sweets.
Raisins (Represents Dominicans)
Walnuts or hazelnuts (Augustines)
Dried figs (Franciscans)
Dates, representing the foods of the region where Christ lived and died
Dried plums from Brignoles
Exotic Fruits= Kiwis - Pineapple - Mango
Biscotins (biscuits) from Aix;
Calissons d'Aix= a marzipan-like candy made from almond paste and candied melon.
Casse-dents of Allauch (biscuit)
Cumin and fennel seed biscuits
Oreillettes, light thin waffles
Pain d'épice= Ginger Bread
Pompes à huile or fougasse à l'huile d'olive, a sweet cake or brioche made with orange flower water and olive oil.
Quince cheese/ Quince paste (Pâte de coing)
Two kinds of nougat, symbolizing good and evil
Black nougat with honey (Nougat noir au miel), a hard candy made with honey and almonds
White nougat (Nougat blanc), a soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey and almonds
Warm Wine's Recipe and Ingredients / for 10 people
- Two bottles of red wine (neither too full-bodied nor too tannic, avoid Bordeaux/Burgundy wines, especially Château Margaux 1966) - 1 orange - 150g of sugar - 1 lemon (optional) - 2 cloves - 4 star anis - 1 cinnamon stick
- 40 cl of water
Dice one third of the orange. Put it with the rest of the ingredient in a large pan during 20 minutes low heat.
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health consume and enjoy in moderation.
Let's get inspired with some decor:
Lovely wooden tray - centre antique mirror
Rustic Wire Bird Cage
Throw Pillow -Amazon
Candle Holder End Table
Christmas Ornament - Guy de Maupassant "The necklace"
French Christmas Banner-Etsy
French Urn Vases
Faux Olive Branch Wreath
Set of 2 Mistletoe Trees
And for those who are able to order from France or going to spend good time in over there during Christmas; "L'Occitane En Provence" offers, after 80 euros of purchase - a Christmas Wreath made from dried flowers - Designed by renowned florists - (Pick your style among 3 options).
L'Occitane en Provence -Canada- Signature or Luxury Advent Calendar
"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the Air" ... Joyeux Noel!