Christmas is coming in three days - hope you've got your shopping done. Over the week-end, the stores here in Paris were jammed with people trying to make last-minute purchases, including on Sunday. For anyone unfamiliar with the pace of life in France, this is highly unusual. All but certain "essential" shops (e.g., restaurants, one pharmacy per quartier, the neighbourhood boulangerie - life in France without fresh-baked bread is not life) must close on Sundays, save for a handful of "ouvertures exceptionnelles".
The final Sunday before Christmas is one of les exceptions.
Reading today in the paper, another US tradition has landed here in France. "Regifting," which is to say, the practice of taking a gift you don't really like, re-wrapping it, and then presenting it to someone else. The practice became famous in the States thanks to the "Seinfeld" television programme, but it's now becoming quite the thing in Paris as well.
According to a recent sondage, nearly one third of respondents answered that they were so disappointed by a present received, the item was re-gifted. And one in six were immediately re-sold on the internet.
The Anglicism "le re-gifting" was actually used, with a parenthetic explanation <<ils iront même jusqu'à les "offrir" à un proche.>>
The article is quite helpful beyond the laugh. Titled "Les Cadeaux A Ne Pas Faire" (The gifts not to give), advice is presented on the top "bad gifts," helpfully broken down for him and for her.
For the gentlemen, do not wrap for your wife/girlfriend
- Les équipements de bricolage (tools and equipment for home repair) - cited by 23% of French women as terrible, unwanted gifts
- Les appareils électroménagers (small household electrics, like a vacuum cleaner) 15%
- Chaussettes (socks) 9%
And for the ladies, your husband/boyfriend does not want
- Chaussettes (13%)
- Cosmétiques (9%)
- Equipements pour la cuisine (kitchen appliances) 6%
It looks like there is some commonality in the battle of the sexes. Neither women nor men wants socks as a present, and both do not appreciate items for the kitchen.
I guess this latter explains why French people eat out in restaurants so frequently.
Bon Noel à tous!