This time of year was always fun growing up because lots of Christmas catalogs would arrive and you could spend hours sorting through all the latest toys, games, and all the other items you never knew you wanted. As an adult in our fantasy land called France, it’s really no different except that the amusements that now catch our eye are likely to be centered around food and drink but it’s still fun to peruse all of these catalogues de Noël looking for everything we didn’t know existed, seems unusual, or we just don’t recall ever having seen before.
A bit before the end of November we got an advertisement from a grocery store featuring “Special Thanksgiving” and an accurate description of this oh-so American holiday. The accompanying photo of an entire turkey was listed as weighing 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) or about one-fourth the size of the 25-pound bird we roasted last year in Atlanta. Luckily we didn’t celebrate on November 24 this year and I don’t know that our oven could hold something so giant sized anyway.
Lots of the other ads that arrived with the one from this supermarket showed everything you might typically associate with Christmas: decorations, presents, and food. At the top of this blog post is a Père Noël costume that shows a very trim Santa Claus who, it appears, could fit down any chimney no matter how narrow. What kind of goodies will he be leaving behind? Why, there’s a box of tampons that might surprise someone in America until they opened the package to discover that the French would recognize these as rubber stamps. Right next to that is a bag of tattooed candy. Not really sure what’s inside except that it’s chocolate and that’s what is important.
If the kids are happy, now we can turn to the parents. How about a full page in the catalog devoted to foie gras, 2 pages of pastries, 3 for cheese, plus 6 for wines including Champagne for 8.99 a bottle. Darn, you have to buy 2 bottles to get that price but I suppose we could make the sacrifice. I understand that right after Christmas, new advertisements come out that repeat all of this to make sure that you get to celebrate the New Year in style. Looks like we’ll be in the holiday spirit for quite a while.