As Thanksgiving approaches, I begin preparing for it by ordering Libby’s pumpkin on-line. Yes, it’s the best and fortunately for me, My American Market in Paris has a great website and delivers to those of us living out in the country. Since I didn’t go to America this year and pack some cans in my suitcase, I’ve got to order the necessary things on-line. I also threw in some good peanut butter while I was at it!
When we first lived here, way back when, I thought I’d be all crafty and make my own pumpkin for the pie. I bought a pumpkin and cut it up, raking all the seeds out, steamed it, peeled it and mashed it up to make my own form of canned pumpkin. I was sort of proud like after a Martha Stewart recipe has been achieved. The only problem is that it just doesn’t taste the same. At all. It has a pumpkin taste but not the same texture. And I love pumpkin pie, for me it sort of makes Thanksgiving, well Thanksgiving. That and the turkey of course. At this time of year turkey, a whole turkey, is quite expensive. I went to the butcher to order a turkey for my first French Thanksgiving. When I went to pick it up and he told me 65€ I sort of stared at him. I paid for it and thought how weird that is. Because about a week after Thanksgiving, turkeys will start appearing in the supermarket for Christmas. The French often eat turkey at Christmas. So, that’s just crazy to pay twice as much. But, that’s just the way it is. The French think that Thanksgiving is American Christmas. I guess because of the turkey correlation? I usually do a whole lesson on Thanksgiving with my ESL students. I tell the whole story of the first Thanksgiving and have colored flashcards to go along with it. I should say that I actually colored flashcard to make a story board! It’s the holiday where I feel the most American and like to share it.
Christmas is really coming along here in France, when we were first here I had trouble finding good tree lights. Now, they’ve got all sorts to choose from. They don’t have boxes of Christmas cards, though. Which is another big expense. I can find some on-line from England through amazon.co.uk that are a relatively decent price, but it’s not the same. I really like going to Target or some equivalent and buying big boxes of beautiful Christmas cards. They sell them individually or in small packets here. The French don’t really send out Christmas cards, they send out Happy New Year cards with wishes for a healthy and happy new year. They don’t have box sets of these, either. They usually send these to all their friends and family in January. My friend Sylvie in Chamonix was so surprised to get my Christmas card on December 12. She said, Kah-ren, you’re so early!
One aspect of French Christmas that I love is the amount of chocolate that they have on offer. Just tons and tons of chocolate. When you walk into the supermarket it’s like a whole village of chocolate boxes. It’s a common gift and I think that’s great. No worries about giving someone something they won’t like or use or wear. Just an elegant, large box of deliciousness. Chocolate is definitely an area without borders or cultural barriers!