"It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."
Having no day-after Thanksgiving as a bench-mark to the beginning of the holiday season, the French people have reserved December 1st as decorating day. This is the day when tensile, garlands, trees, and Santa Claus make their first appearance of the season. Most importantly, however, December 1st is the official day for every city in France to turn on their Christmas lights. For weeks now city workers with cranes and mighty trucks have been hanging beautiful strings of lights across the majority of the city streets. I have been so disappointed walking through downtown around dusk to find all of these luminaries dark. What is the point of hanging them if you are not going to turn them on? Well, I found the answer to my question: on December 1st a famous person (whose fame is proportional to the city's importance) and the mayor climb a podium, flip an abnormally large cardboard stitch, make speeches to a clapping crowd, and officially declare the Christmas season open. All in all, a very festive event - though I may have just been happy to have my first cup of hot spiced wine of the year as December 1st marks the first day of the Christmas market too.
Earlier in the day I braved the elements (rather warm rain) to the super mall, with Christmas cheer in my heart (really, I was rather giddy) where I purchased a very small plastic Christmas tree, some very small gold and red ornaments, a very small star, and a very small pearl garland along with a set of Christmas lights. When I returned, I commenced decorating. Alright, it looks rather pathetic, but it is cheerful (just don't look too hard at the tree as the ornaments are attached with waxed mint dental floss). Plus, the children of my landlady knocked on my door with mouths dropped and eyes wide open - just staring at my Christmas tree that stands a foot and a half tall and the twinkle lights on my window. Astonished, they declared my room one of the most beautiful things they've ever seen. Though they are only 7 (and a half!) and 5 and, thus, haven't seen much of the world, I will take their praise as a rousing compliment!
Other than the quickly spreading Christmas cheer, nothing else out of the ordinary has occurred. I'm just waiting for my first true Bouche de Noel and my next cup of hot spiced wine!