I hope that everyone had a nice Christmas. I know that I certainly did ! I drove to the south of France to stay with friends in the Lot Department with whom I have spent the holidays with for the last ten years. The drive from Cherbourg went well enough although I had some fog between Caen and Tours. After that, there was plenty of rain. This made the total drive 9 hours and 5 minutes. It’s always my job to put out the Christmas ornaments and decorate the tree when I arrive. At my church in Querqueville, I purchased some adorable felt ornaments from the organization Secours Catholique during their national campaign for Catholic Relief Services. Photos of the ornaments can be found at the bottom of the page here. Of course, we always put out the Nativity that I made several years ago from some old wood and moss found in the forest behind my friend’s house. During the night of the 23rd it snowed and the temperatures dropped drastically. It was certainly a white Christmas for us. My friend’s father was able to put his new wood-burning stove to good use. It creates a lot of heat from small wood pellets. The snow never melted and everything was just as it should be at Christmas. For Christmas Eve, we had our traditional feast at the table elaborately decorated using some fresh greens, pinecones and some old ornaments. First on the menu were the aperitifs of various French liqueurs. Then we were on to the six-dozen oysters that I bought earlier in the day at the market.After that we had foie gras and verrine de saumon before moving on to the main course—a goose, potatoes with wild mushrooms, haricots verts and grilled chestnuts. After a short break we sipped a variety of wines and nibbled on our plate of cheese which included Leerdammer, Cantal and Rocamadour cabécou. For dessert we ate homemade carrot cake and two bûche de Noël. The meal ended at midnight when the baby Jesus was placed in the crèche and we all drank a glass of champagne. I was exhausted and went to bed right away while others sat downstairs talking until the wee hours of the morning. Christmas day was kind to me and I received many wonderful gifts including shirts, a bathrobe and some Tintin books and DVDs. I also received a painting of my favorite bande dessinée character done by my friend’s neice. The trip back to Querqueville was uneventful and took only 8 hours and 30 minutes. There were a few places that were still covered in snow just after driving past the Civaux Nuclear Power Plant. It’s good to be home and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year !