Christmas in France

Christmas in France

by Christine Gorman, Judie Haynes

"Joyeux Noel" to all of you who want to learn more about Christmas in France. This lesson can be taught in an ESL, mainstream or World language classroom.

Instead of teaching an "Around the World" unit about light festivals or Christmas, you may want to feature this in-depth lesson about Christmas in France. This lesson can be used for an ESL, mainstream, or a world language class.

Instructional Sequence

La Fete des Rois

(Feast of the Magi)

This is a children’s holiday. A butter “galette” (cake) is baked and a “feve” (favor) is placed inside. The galette is cut into pieces and the child who finds the “feve” is “roi” (king) or “reine” (queen) for the day. That child receives a “couronne.” (crown) The other children say “Vive le roi (ou reine)!

Instructional Sequence

You can buy a cake and put a bean in it to use as a favor. Or bake a cake using a mix. Keep track of where the favor is so that you are sure it has been served.

1.Teach students “J’aime la galette” in the following way:

J’aime la galette (walk in a circle holding hands to the right)
Savez vous comment? (change directions - go left)
Quand elle est bien faite (go right)
Avec le buerre dedans (go left)
Tra la la la la (hands over head, walk in )
Tra la la la la (step back to place in circle)

2.Cut the galette and give to students. Instruct them to wait.

3. Everyone must eat carefully and at the same time. Teach students to say “Miam” Miam” (yum, yum) When a student finds it , they must say “le voici.”

4. Crown the king or queen. Students say “Vive la roi or la reine”


Activity Downloads

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PDF fileBuche de Noel (70k .PDF)

PDF fileReveillon in France (109k .PDF)

PDF filePere Noel (42k .PDF)

PDF fileMistletoe (96k .PDF)

Related Links

Festivals of Light Around the World
The diversity in many classrooms provides a starting point for children to begin to understand and value the many distinct cultures of the world. What better way to do that than to feature a winter unit on light festivals from around the world. Teach your students about the cultural traditions in France, Sweden, Thailand, Philippines, India, Egypt, Holland, and Mexico. More light festivals will be added so keep checking back.

About the Authors

Christine Gorman is an ESL and French teacher for the River Edge Public Schools. She is also Chairperson of the Bergen County Affliate of NJTESOL/NJBE.

Judie Haynes is a former ESL teacher, author and professional development provider.