I don't really do Christmas. Nor, it must be said, does France, where it's a bit of a one day wonder; traditionally, a long réveillon dinner on Christmas Eve, after which presents are exchanged, followed by an only slightly less demanding Christmas Day lunch. Then it's back to work as usual on the 26th - no Boxing Day here. It's all pretty low key, marked mainly by the absence of special promos and a sudden hike in the price of oysters. Presumably because we're all used to shops not being open 24/7, there's no panic fuelled filling of chariots - while tills rattle with more euros than usual, it's quality not quantity that is the order of the day - foie gras, seafood, goose, capon, champagne, good wine (and hey - it's only a week until the food fest starts all over again with the Réveillon Saint Sylvestre - New Year's Eve ...).
This year I didn't do Christmas even more than I usually don't do it. If you see what I mean.
What I didn't do:
Go to a Christmas market. No time.
Eat and drink too much. Ditto.
Go for a Christmas Day walk. Ditto again.
Send any Christmas cards. Except online.
Buy a Christmas tree. Surrounded by them right outside the window.
Buy loadsa Christmas presents. Bah humbug.
Watch interminable quiz shows and 'best of' programmes on TV. No TV.
See anyone except John. Miserable antisocial creature that I am.
What I did:
Painted 45 square metres of ceiling in La Petite Maison's bedroom.
Played with my one Christmas present. Which was - wait for it - a new stepladder (oh, but what a ladder ...).
Ate a sandwich in the sun at lunchtime.
Prepared some pigments and a bucket of lime wash for the next day.
Paid some bills and got excited when I discovered that my stamps smelt of chocolate (how could you not love a country that produces stamps that look and smell like a chocolate bar?).
Cooked a magret for dinner, a rare treat for two infrequent meat eaters.
Looked anxiously out of the window at 5pm to see if the days are getting longer ...
And do you know what? It was a perfectly joyeuse fête.