This year we would like to celebrate Christmas a little bit differently. We have the warm sunlight in mind which does not seem to leave our head from the summer we spent in Provence. Take our ideas which we gathered from a traditional Provencal Christmas and indulge yourself and your family with all those rays of light.
Start with some Provencal scents and beauty rituals to get into a Christmas spirit. When decorating the house, the bathroom is often neglected. Why not put some branches into a vase and decorate them with ornaments and baubles. L’Occitane has some pretty Christmas baubles that will look lovely as a decoration and that are also filled with fragrant goodies (hand lotion, shower gel, soap), either with the tender scent of cherry blossom or the fresh scent of Verbena. Furthermore this year L’Occitane also has two very special baubles – a golden and a shimmering blue one. These two baubles are also filled with lovely Provencal scents either as a fragrant or a relaxing surprise. Perfect as a little Christmas gift to yourself when you might find a little present for a dear friend – because with whenever shop at a L’Occitane boutique or at their online store (using the code KUGEL16) you’ll get the golden or the blue bauble as a gift.
Prepare your house for the season with the typical scents of Provence like lavender, olive, orange and almond. The flickering lights and the waves of fragrance given away by the slowly melting wax make scented candles the perfect home decor during the Christmas season. L’Occitane has a wide range of scented candles for every taste, from seasonal scents like Candied Fruits or Winter Forest to classic Provencal scents like lavender. There are of course also plenty of fragrant body lotions and creams that will leave your skin smelling heavenly, of lavender maybe, of almond or Verbène, their fragrances conjuring a field, a harvest, a garden in Provence.
And don’t forget the Christmas table setting, which is actually the most important in Provence as it comes with many beautiful rules. Let me tell you how they celebrate in Provence:
The “great supper” is eaten on Christmas Eve, before going to midnight mass. Everything is minutely prepared. Before starting the meal, every guest is welcomed by crackers on the table, which are opened together and are supposed to bring joy and fortune to everyone. L’Occitane also offers nice crackers for Christmas. By opening those your guests will be surprised with little fragrant products such as eau de toilette, shower gel or hand cream.
When the meal gets underway, it is good to know that each dish has its own symbolism and numbers are very important: For example, the table has 3 white tablecloths (3 for the 3 members of the Holy Trinity) with 3 white lighted candelabras and 3 saucers of sprouted wheat germs planted on St. Barbe’s Day. The “great supper” is made up of 7 lean dishes in memory of the 7 sufferings of Mary. It is served with 13 bread rolls followed by 13 desserts, which represent the Last Supper with Jesus and the 12 Apostles. These lean dishes differ from one part of Provence to another. The dishes often served are chard stalks and celery, cauliflower, spinach and cod, omelette, snails, garlic soup & but never any meat, simply fish, shellfish, gratins, vegetables, soups and anchoïade (anchovy paste). The only abundance is that of the thirteen desserts.
The thirteen desserts are eaten after Midnight mass and will remain on the table for the following 3 days, until 27th December. They include dry figs, almonds, raisins, hazelnuts, dates, black and white nougat, fougasse à l’huile d’olive (also called la pompe), a flat loaf made using olive oil, quince cheese or crystallised fruit, oreillettes (light thin waffle) and fresh fruit: mandarins, oranges, pears, and winter melons preserved for the occasion. Most of all, it is about indulgence and sharing, about being together and enjoying the holidays.
Thank you to L’Occitane for the wonderful inspiration.