Christmas in Nice

Between (unwisely) getting addicted to Fullmetal Alchemist a week and a half before finals and trying not to stress out over exams, I’ve realized that I’ve been neglecting this blog. (I should probably be studying instead of writing this, but when you’re a writer, bad things happen when you try to stifle the urge to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard.) So here’s a brief post on Christmas in Nice:

There’ve been Christmas chocolates in supermarkets since October, and festive decorations in the city since November, though I suppose that’s because France doesn’t have Halloween or Thanksgiving to act as buffer holidays.

When December arrived, the Christmas market appeared, bringing with it the scent of warm cinnamon and clean, crisp cold. (Well, as cold as Nice can get, which is like 45 degrees.) The marché de noël seems to be a European tradition, and the Niçois one consists of little stalls selling anything from cotton candy to jewelry to incense to spiced breads. While I managed to find a cute five-euro trinket for a friend, frankly, I think most of the wares are overpriced—one stall had ten-euro Santa hats, the kind you could buy for a buck at Dollar Tree, and another had bracelets for 18 euros, an unjustifiable price seeing as they were just a tiny piece of metal and a few strands of string.

The market’s accompanied by a tiny ice skating rink, some carnival games, a carousel, and a Ferris wheel. (Seriously, where do they store that thing when the holiday season ends?) Occasionally, you might stumble across randomly placed trees covered in fake snow, AKA environmentally unfriendly Styrofoam.

I’ve never particularly cared for the holiday itself—it doesn’t hold any special significance for me or my family. It’s simply there, an impossible-to-ignore sign of Christianity attempting to work its way through every aspect of society. Generally, I just like the ambiance of the holiday season—spending time with friends and family, warming your hands with mugs of hot chocolate, and eagerly but futilely hoping for a lot of snow. But it’ll be interesting to see how my first Christmas abroad goes, when I’m an ocean away from my family and friends.

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