a literal translation of "reveillon de Noel" which is this evening's Christmas dinner, as eaten in France. There will be another reveillon, next week for the "reveillon de Saint Sylvestre" or New Year's Eve to you and me. Tonight turkey is these days often eaten, but traditionally it is seafood (oysters usually, even as far from the sea as we are) and foie gras, which was actually invented here in Alsace and is possibly the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. Champagne is consumed, as an aperitif and then again at midnight, at which time traditionally a child adds the Christ child to the nativity crib at home. People are with their families if they can be, and may or may not go to midnight mass. Presents were traditionally opened on return from midnight mass, though these days not that many people go, and quite often nowadays presents are opened the next day. There is no Boxing Day in France, it is not a public holiday (although it falls on a Sunday this year which means people will be at home) and French people usually think Boxing Day is a really cool notion, with sport on TV and live too, providing entertainment for the masses. All French sport including football takes a two-week holiday for Christmas and New Year. But I have never worked out quite what French people do on Christmas Day. In France public holidays are taken on the actual day and not the next Monday, so for example this year Christmas being on Saturday means no extra holiday for it. Anyway, sig other and I are having none of the above. We have had a fairly modest dinner of roast palette de porc this evening, with oven chips and Spanish broccoli (yes I know) and will not be going to midnight mass. Our Christmas dinner will be consumed tomorrow, at some point during the afternoon. I shall be going to church in the morning, having done food preparation before leaving, and on my return we will have champagne and smoked salmon (my family's tradition) while the turkey is cooking, and will open presents then. Just two of us this year means a small turkey. So that is that. Then Boxing Day as we wish, and on Monday evening we start our journey to Cyprus for some new year sun, and just to be in Cyprus - although rain is possible, we will not mind, as the island needs it. Here it has been snowing most of the day, after a thaw early in the week, and today started above freezing, with wet snow falling, and is ending below freezing, with more snow forecast early tomorrow and very low temperatures. Good.
A happy Christmas to everyone who reads this - yes, even you - and I wish you a good New Year. I am tempted to write, but perhaps it would not be a good idea, in the words of Greg Lake, "the Christmas you get you deserve".