6 Tips to Survive the Holidays Like A French Woman


Les Fetes are here! Lavish holiday meals, parties and family feasts, you can graciously survive them all while still embracing les plasirs de la vie {the pleasure’s of life} like French women do.

Here are a few tips for surviving the holidays in style:

1. Refine Your Palate: For French women, the holidays are not an excuse to binge for a whole month on boxes of cookies and inexpensive chocolates. Invest in an artisanal dark, rich chocolate, and indulge. Make it count. Be selective, if you only partake of the very best, or your absolute most favorite cheese or sweets, you will feel luxurious and truly enjoy what you eat.



2. Celebrate in moderation. In France, the two big holiday meals are on Christmas Eve, and on New Year’s Eve. In between, French women go back to their normal eating habits.  They don’t eat a whole plate of sugary cookies while drinking tea, they have one. Maybe two, since it’s the holidays. But no more. Saying non, merci, is easier than you think!  If you determine that celebrations are about the family and friends you spend time with, it’s easier. French women don’t make New Year’s resolutions about losing weight or going to the gym, they simply eat in moderation before and after their two big holiday meals.

3. Hors d’Oeuvres to love: French women choose what they serve before a meal wisely. Hors d’oeuvres are meant to whet the appetite, not fill your guests up before they eat the sumptuous meal you have prepared for them. Choose a variety of healthy options: nuts, fruit, olives, and perhaps cheese. You don’t need a display worthy of the Ritz Hotel Dining Room, a small offering is perfect.


4. Wine is for Dining: In France, wine is savored slowly with a meal. It is usually not a before, during and after drink. The typical verre de vin {wine glass} is smaller than the glasses we use here in the states, French wine glassed typically hold 125 ml, ours hold 175 ml or more! Buy a spectacular wine for dinner, and fill your glass partially full. Enjoy, sip slowly while you are sitting around your holiday table laughing and enjoying the company of those you love.

5. Dinner is Served:  Try your best to choose the healthier options from the hors d’oeuvres tray before dinner while perhaps drinking a glass of festive champagne {slowly!}  Meals should be served seated. The French would never think of having a holiday meal without sitting together at the table. The portions are small, but many, with plenty of time in between for catching up and sharing amusing stories. Don’t hurry, savor each bite, the longer it takes to eat your meal, the better you will digest your food, and the more likely you will have room for that one slice of Buche de Noel, the typical French Christmas dessert.


6. Go for Une Promenade.  French women revel in taking a long walk together with their families and friends on Christmas day. Instead of sitting around, they slip off their chic high heels, put on flats or trendy tennis shoes and walk around their neighborhood. On the country lanes in Provence, the city sidewalks of Paris, and everywhere in between, French families can be seen taking a stroll to walk off some of the extra calories from the “big meal”, and enjoying it!


That’s it! I hope this helps. French women have no food guilt, because they eat well, making fresh choices, with a few indulgences for the holidays. Here at home I serve a very small dessert after dinner, which is generally an antique gold rimmed liquor glass on a stem with one scoop of delicious ice cream, accompanied by a charming chocolate on each small plate. I place clementines or mandarins on the table too, for those who don’t care for sweets with their coffee. We linger at the table, and there is nothing I love more than hearing the laughter of our children and grandchildren around our table! Wishing all of you the Merriest Christmas! xoxo Lidy

4 thoughts on “6 Tips to Survive the Holidays Like A French Woman”

  1. I so love this post, Liddy–great reminders on how to be healthy and happy 🙂 I’m going to try and be more “French” this year! BTW, your photos are just stunning–Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. Wonderful tips and beautiful accessories – love the silver necessaire! I have some guest coming tomorrow night who could stand to read this. As the host, I’ll just try to lead by example. Joyeux Noel!

  3. Meredith

    Joyeux Noel to you!???? I love reading about how refined the French women approach the holidays. Im going to give it a try.

  4. Caroline

    I love this, this rings so true. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for all the beauty and inspiration you so generously give us all year long.

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