Celebrating Christmas in France reminds everyone of the very first Christmas. It is usually a holiday for the children, while New Year's celebrations are for the adults.
About a week before Christmas, the family sets up the crèche (manger scene). In the creche, they place Mary,Joseph, shepherds, angels, and the farm animals. Baby Jesus is left out of the crèche until the family returns from the Christmas Eve midnight mass. The Three Wise Men are added to the crèche on Jan. 6th, the Epiphany.
On Christmas Eve, candles are lit around the crèche. A Yule log (soaked in wine) is lit and carols are sung. the children place their shoes in front of the fireplace, so that Père Noël can fill them with gifts. After midnight mass on Christmas Eve, the family returns home and has a feast of oysters, sausages and wine.
Stuffed goose and a special french dessert (shaped like a Yule log) is served for the Christmas dinner.