'Tis the season. It's curious comparing French attitudes. In the UK, for months there's been the usual false glitz on all the ads. But, it's always the women of the world who spend all their money on others. You only have to look at the Boots' ads. Where's the lesson on charity for others for the kids? All it is for them is 'me, me, me'.
Rural France is so different. No outward signs of the season at all until at least the week before, and then usually only some sparkling decorations strung across the village main road. Oh, and a few Santas climbing up crepi walls. What the French do well, though, is the numerous Xmas fairs all over the country. It's like the summer 'vide-greniers' (car boot sales), but better.
Some enterprising English expats in the Lot region have even taken it a stage further. They've used the idea to set up un marche de Noel to thank all the locals for welcoming them to their region. The Maire has agreed to waive the rent on the Salle des Fetes village hall and all proceeds will go to their own village to fund equipment for the school and retirement home not provided by government.
What's so great about this is that, not only are these expats actively integrating into local life, but they've used local customs to actually pay back the village for welcoming them. Now that's what I call the way to live in another country!