I Miss My Glue Gun: Christmas Time in France

I love Christmas. It’s the one thing I unashamedly will get sentimental about. I love the music, the decorations, the weather (although, I’m from Texas so I’m not quite sure what that’s supposed to be), wrapping presents, baking, and being with family. I miss being an undergrad, getting to come home once Christmas break started and wrapping presents in front of the fire while watching old home videos of Christmas past (if you don’t video tape your  Christmas morning with family, I highly recommend it).

So why am I missing my glue gun? Well after making dozens of paper roses for our wedding last year, I’ve become rather attached to my hot glue. And by rather attached I mean that if something remotely crafty needs to be made I think it should be made with a hot glue gun.

But I digress. Since we’re in France, I don’t have access to my Christmas decorations and going without Christmas décor is not something I’m ok with. I had to be a little creative, so I used to mostly natural elements (sticks and berries) and stuff we had around the apartment (bottles, toilet paper rolls, string) to make our decorations, however we did splurge for some ribbon, garland, and lights and this was the result.

Not too bad if I say so myself (I’m sure Pinterest would be proud). The stars are made with 5 sticks of roughly the same length and string.

For the wreath and tree (pinecone, pineapple—pick your vegetation), I used the cardboard tube from toilet paper and paper towel rolls. Cut the tube into multiple loops for the wreath then paint and attach (I used stick glue, no glue gun in France!) the loops to each other in the pattern of your choice. For the tree you need to cut the tube lengthwise (on both sides) to cut the curled pieces and then glue to the base structure, I used a wine bottle—warning, this takes a while (what would’ve made it faster? A hot glue gun perhaps).

I like the little touches of the Season scattered around our living room even though we won’t be home (Angers) for Christmas, it just wouldn’t be right to not have red and green throughout the apartment.

Because Doctor Who is basically a part of Christmas too.

Yes, my Nativity scene is made with bottles.

Moving on out of our apartment, there is plenty of Christmas scattered around town. Something that I think Europe does do better than the States when it comes to Christmas are the Christmas markets.

The passing of Thanksgiving and the madness of Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas season (AKA when I can start playing Christmas carols and not feel judged, not that I wait that long) in the States. For Europe, it’s the markets. Angers has a tiny market starting not five minutes from our apartment (thankfully, Santa’s workshop is a bit farther away so I don’t have to be on the lookout when heading to get groceries—I love the idea of Santa, Papa Noel here, I just don’t like to be near people dressed as him).

Most markets in Europe open the last week of November and run until Christmas Eve, some go on until New Years or Epiphany. In addition to the stalls of vendors selling their wares of jewelry, crepes, hot wine, and other items, strange performers wandered around the square. Red “demons” on stilts, what they were doing I’m not quite sure, followed up by drummers that would giant colorful gourds on their heads. 

No, it does not really ring Jingle bells for me either when I think of the yuletide season (don’t think we heard a typical “carol” that night either), but was it fun? Yes. Were we still shopping? Yes, but we weren’t trapped in a mall and being in the outdoor chill sipping a hot drink admiring the lights made the mood for me and that’s what our crazy US shopping misses for me.

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