Imagine all the people
It’s the end of the Autumn term at our primary school and, as usual, the kids have gone to defcon 1 in anticipation of Père Noel’s largesse. And at lunchtime he’ll arrive astride a quad, 1000cc BMW bike, sit- on lawnmower or in the cab of the Pompiers wagon. Or on a horse.
Given that behind the beard, Santa can be a pimply trainee fireman or a rather more rotund (& realistic) dad, the mode of transport is always a lottery.
Then after a brief song or two, it’s cadeaux time – something for everyone, handed out from the foot of the Christmas tree in the main hall - with the phone and video cameras of a hundred doting parents recording every moment. But no carols, no Nativity and, very specifically, not a shred of spirituality. John Lennon would approve – at least with the ‘no religion too’ bit. Things are sort of Christmassy, but it’s strange that in a country with such a strong Roman Catholic heritage as in France, there’s no recognition of this – or any other belief – in most state schools.
So we have to forego the Kings, Shepherds and Tiny tears doll masquerading as the infant Jesus, and instead head home to figure out how to transform the newly acquired Transformer.
But if you need a dose of extra curricular festivities in the lead up to Christmas itself, you can find Choirs, mulled wine and pretty lights in most of our Dordogne village squares. And on the plus side, it’s blissfully easy to avoid the torture of the office party – there’s no way of fitting it into the 35 hour working week.