Brittany Christmas Traditions: A Guide

Ah, Brittany – one of our favourite destinations in France. Indeed, France - and Brittany - was the very inspiration behind our brand. After all, the Breton shirt is synonymous with French style.

So, as Christmas looms close (it’s mere days away now, folks – eek!), we thought we’d delve into some much-loved Brittany festive traditions we can all get on board with this December. Read on…

Shoes = Gifts

How does a humble pair of shoes – a child’s pair of shoes, to be exact – equal gifts? Well, an age-old custom in many a household in Brittany – even today – is for children to leave their shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

They do this in the hope that Father Christmas (known as Père Noël) fills the shoes with gifts. Okay, so the smaller the shoes, the smaller the gifts – but the joy in this little tradition is just as plentiful whatever size the footwear.

Just a few generations ago, states the author of Bonjour from Brittany, ‘the children would have left their heavy wooden clogs by the open granite hearth where blazed the Yule Log’.

A Visit to the Brittany Christmas Lights

Okay, so this is a tradition many partake in globally but in Brittany specifically the lights truly are dazzling.

The Pont-Aven light shows make visiting Brittany at this time of year hugely appealing. For a whole month (from early December this year), you can feast your eyes on ‘tastefully illuminated squares, narrow streets and façades’,

‘To prolong the magical moment’, states the site linked above, ‘galleries and shops are open late every Friday and Saturday in December. Let there be light!’. Thinking of jetting off to Brittany? Surely there’s no perfect time than the festive season?!

The Réveillon

Immediately following Christmas Mass at midnight, Breton folk traditionally head home and eat a light meal of traditional buckwheat crêpes and cream. This is a step up, states French Culture Adventures, from the traditional buttermilk crêpes.

The very next day, Bretons’ Christmas feast is enjoyed around noon. It’s a traditional experience with beautifully decorated tables and the piece de resistance: a bûche de Noël (yule log) for dessert, amongst the traditional festive fare.

Pick Out Their Favourite Breton Shirt

While we can’t say if this is a definite Breton tradition, it should be – and my, are there plenty of Breton shirts to choose from. The ideal sartorial companion for the festive season and beyond, the Breton style shirt works perfectly with just about any outfit.

It works well when layered up, too, making it a good choice for Midnight Mass (with a trusty knitted cardigan or huge coat for company), or can be worn on its own during the warmer months of the year.

Will you be giving any of these Brittany-specific Christmas traditions a try this December? Or perhaps you have some festive customs of your own that you can’t not adhere to in the run up to the big day. However you spend the season, we hope you have a fantastic time with your nearest and dearest.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Until next time…