We're trying it out really, this Christmas in France thing. We left the UK in 2004 and have been living in Italy since then, so we've become very used to mixing and matching the seasonal customs at this time of year. Then a couple of years ago we bought a tiny, tiny place in Herault and we've been spending a few weeks at a time here when we can get away from things in Italy. It's part of a cunning plan to relocate ourselves eventually; though the current Euro Zone crisis may mess with that!
However, this year a friend with a holiday home in Laurens offered us the chance to house-sit their place over the winter and be able to nip up to our tiny, tiny place in 20 minutes or so. So, we've arrived with our winter woollies and the animals (cats, dogs) and are preparing to sample a longer sojourn in France. Our commitments over the summer in Italy mean that we can't really get here for long in the warmer months, though we've managed to be here in August, and somehow it feels like a better 'test' to come and stay over the winter months. And by 'test' I suppose that I mean 'trial' (as in trial run).
When we moved to Italy we hadn't really any knowledge or experience of the country, though we'd both lived abroad in other places. We'd spent a long time looking at property in France, Spain and Portugal, so it was an impulse that took us to Italy in the end. Before we move this time we'd like to spend a bit more time trying out France, to see if we'd be making the right choice. And we're not getting any younger, so I don't think we'll want to uproot ourselves again! I'm not saying that moving to Italy was a mistake, only that we know now that it's not where we want to stay and that we bought the wrong house for our old age - that's why the little place here is in a village, where we can walk to things and there is some rural transport.
One thing that I really will miss this year is singing in the Coro Val Fino and our 'concerto di Natale' - if we do end up living part of the year here in Herault I'd love to find a choir to join (as long as they accept keen but not especially talented singers).
PS I guess this is also a way of introducing myself as a new member of SFN!