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A French Christmas

Could it get any more swoon-worthy than celebrating Christmas in France?

Is there anyone who knows how to do Christmas quite as spectacularly as the French do?

The food is heavenly, the lights twinkle like stardust, while the traditions make the holiday season feel extra special. Their festive season stretches out for weeks rather than a couple of days. 

What’s not to love about that?  

Although celebrating Christmas in France may not be an option this year, you can bring France right to you! From cooking a French-themed Christmas dinner and decorating your home to some gorgeous French gift ideas, there are so many fun activities to enjoy this season.

Here’s how to do the perfect French Christmas and have a très chic Joyeux Noël (FYI: that’s French for Merry Christmas)!

France at Christmas time

Go to town on the Crèche

Nativity scenes are known as the “crèche” in France and are super popular across the country. 

But you won’t just find the usual suspects like baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph popping up. 

Oh no.

France likes to get the whole community involved in the celebrations, and rightly so! You’ll see a butcher, a baker, and a policeman on display too. And traditionally, these are all made of clay.   

In the month of December, certain towns like Marseilles have delightful Christmas markets (more on this to come) where you can purchase authentic, local versions of these nativity figures.

One of the unusual facts about Christmas in France is that, unlike the rest of the world, the crèche remains on display in homes until February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas

French markets 

Christmas market

Christmas markets (marchés de Noel) are a big part of France’s Christmas tradition. The first one can be traced back to 1570, which was Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmarik

Many of them start in the last weekend of December, running through into the New Year. And each one is slightly different from the next.

At these staple French markets, you can buy beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. Each Christmas market is slightly different from the next, with its own unique charm. At every market, you’ll find beautiful decorations, yummy festive treats, and high-quality artisan products from local producers. 

The array of delicious food is perhaps the highlight and a brilliant way to bring France to you this year.

If you’re looking to bring that beautiful Christmas aroma into your home, start by roasting some chestnuts. This is one of the most popular snacks at French markets as you stroll around the different stalls. 

Delicacies like pâté, foie gras, cheese, and charcuterie are all French favorites, and each region boasts its own specialties. 

One dish that can’t be missed when visiting a French Christmas market is a cheesy tartiflette, which originates from Savoie. It’s a mix of real comforting ingredients: potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons, onions, and herbs. 

 

Those with a sweet tooth can whip up a batch of homemade waffles smothered in melted chocolate, just like you’ll find at the Arras Christmas market. Other family favorites include beignets (a mini doughnut), macarons d’Amiens (an almond and honey cake), and gâteau battu (a brioche-like cake shaped like a chef’s hat).

Don’t forget to share a toast with a glass of gently spiced mulled wine, or vin chaud as it’s known in France. 

French market at Christmas time

Some of the standout French Christmas markets to head to are:

  • Colmar
  • Strasbourg
  • Amiens
  • Reims
  • Metz
  • Montbeliard
  • Lille
  • Avignon

Check them out, and make a note of the ones you want to head to next winter!

Le Sapin De Noël

Christmas tree

In France, a Christmas tree is called “un sapin de noël” or “un arbre de noël.” 

Strasbourg is said to be the birthplace of the festive tree. A fir tree is chosen because it doesn’t shed its leaves, a symbol of hope and eternal life. This tree was originally covered in red apples and lights and stood in front of Churches as a symbol of Christ. 

Many homes quickly adopted this tradition and would decorate their trees with apples and biscuits. However, one year there was a shortage of apples. To avert the crisis, glass-blowers created decorative versions of them, and that is how the Christmas bauble was invented!  

To create the perfect French-themed tree, decorate using ribbons, candles, and baubles, and place a star at the very top. 

If you want to go one step further, you can place your shoes under the tree (or by the fireplace) on Christmas eve instead of hanging stockings. It’s tradition for French children to do this in the hopes that Père Noël (Santa) will fill them with gifts. 

Spread the love like Père Noël

Christmas letter writing

Did you know that in France, it is illegal for a letter to Santa to go ignored?

That’s right.

In 1962, France passed a law stating that all letters to Père Noël must be responded to with a postcard. Isn’t that beautiful? All those handwritten letters from children are saved from ending up in bins and storage boxes. 

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving and receiving, so how about giving to those less fortunate than you this year? 

You could volunteer to respond to children’s letters to Santa or donate food and gifts to a local shelter. Bake some French Christmas treats and give them out along with blankets and sleeping bags to homeless people in your local community.

This year has been a tough one for all of us, but Christmas is all about family, love, and compassion. Let’s end the year on a high and spread the Christmas cheer.

Enjoy a beautiful log fire

Christmas socks by the fire

Long ago in France, it’s said that a large log would be carried into the home on the eve of Christmas, sprinkled with red wine to make it smell nice (plenty leftover for you to enjoy), then left burning all night long. 

Yule logs made of Cherry Wood are always a firm favorite across French homes. 

There’s something about an open fire that feels so wintery, cozy, and festive. You might even want to make some mulled wine or hot cocoa, slip into some snuggly clothes and relax as the warmth fills your soul. 

The perfect stocking stuffers

Christmas stocking

Whether you’re filling shoes or stockings, it doesn’t matter! What really counts is what’s inside. 

What better way to celebrate Christmas like the French than by stocking up on some French beauty products? 

Our Long-Lasting Matte Lipstick Duo Pack in classic red is the perfect shade to see any woman right through the holiday season. Think Réveillon, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve, and everything in between. And if red is too bold for you, there are plenty of tamer shades to choose from. 

No French woman can do without some classic French mascara in her beauty bag. Why not pick up the legendary Cabaret Première Classic French Mascara—promising natural volume and definition in one swoosh. 

How to celebrate Réveillon in style

Christmas dinner spread

In the US, Christmas dinner on December 25th tends to be the pinnacle Christmas meal. But the French like to do things a little differently.

The holiday season’s biggest meal is traditionally eaten around midnight on Christmas Eve, known as le Réveillon. Starters often include delicacies like foie gras, oysters, or escargots. The main course is usually roast goose or turkey. And the meal is completed with the bûche de Noël (Yule Log). There’s always plenty of wine on hand too.

Doesn’t Christmas dinner in France sound amazing?

If you’ve never done this before, why not mix things up this year and prepare a feast for Christmas Eve. It’s a perfect way to get into the French Christmas feels.

Sweet treats to indulge in

Holiday pastry

What I love most about the way the French do Christmas is their celebration of all things sweet.

One of the most noteworthy facts about Christmas in France is their tradition (in some regions) of eating a grand total of 13 different desserts! 

Yes. You read that right. 

Here are a few of the standout sweet treats to try


Chocolate Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Cake

A French pastry chef invented this in the late 1800s. Traditionally, it’s a Genoise sponge layered with buttercream and shaped into a log. It’s then topped with some beautiful decorations like meringue mushrooms or even a fresh cutting of holly. 


Classic French Marrons Glacés (Candied Chestnuts)

These are a popular holiday treat in France and will fill your home with a deliciously sweet aroma. They take a few days to prepare, but they're definitely worth it.


Chocolat Chaud

This is hot chocolate, but it's not just any hot chocolate. This is probably the most decadent hot chocolate you’ll ever drink! Made with melted chocolate, warm milk, topped with whipped cream, and maybe some marshmallows for extra fun—the perfect companion to an open fire. 


Celebrate the Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois

Fête des Rois (known as Epiphany in the US) is celebrated on January 6th. This marks the official end to Christmas in France.

Baking and eating a galette des rois (king cake) is a tradition. This is a delicious flaky pastry filled with frangipane (almond cream). Hidden inside the pastry is a fève (a small baby figurine). Whoever is lucky enough to get the piece with the fève becomes the King or Queen for the day.

This is such a popular tradition that most French bakeries sell the cakes with a paper crown.   

And why not?

We are all Queens in our own way. Let’s celebrate that more this year!

And that is how to do Christmas like the French do. Enjoy weaving a bit of French wonder and magic into your holiday season.  

Wishing you all a beautiful French Christmas, wherever in the world you’re celebrating this year.


Joyeux Noël!

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The Best Makeup Gifts to Give to a Friend
April 09, 2021
The Best Makeup Gifts to Give to a Friend

If you have a friend or loved one who loves makeup, it only makes sense to buy them a makeup gift. The best gift is one that’ll be used, after all.  When buying gifts for makeup lovers, you still have to put a bit of thought into your purchase. Some products, like foundations and concealers, require very precise color matching, so they can’t be bought on a whim. That’s why we’ve put together this gift guide with the best makeup products to give as gifts, whether for small occasions or for bigger celebrations.  We’ve put together a range of beauty gift ideas, including simple crowd-pleasers and thoughtful bundles. With the help of our list, we know that your friend will love what you give her!  Vivienne Sabó Mascara Mascara is a universal makeup gift that’s always appreciated. It’s an unskippable part of every makeup routine, but it’s also one of those products that have to be replaced frequently, so you know that your gift will serve its purpose. There is zero chance that it will sit in the makeup drawer unused!  When choosing the best mascara for your friend, consider her tastes. Is she the kind of person who leads an active life and needs waterproof mascara? Maybe she likes a dramatic look, in which case our Provocation mascara will give her lashes instant volume. On the other hand, if she keeps things subtle but defined, the Cabaret Première is a classic choice that keeps the lashes full yet separated.  You can even give her a mascara gift set with a few different options, so she can customize her look based on her needs for any specific day.  Matte Constance Lipstick Lipstick is the kind of beauty gift that requires a bit more consideration, but it also means that it can be very thoughtful. If you just pick a color at random, chances are your gift may not land too well. However, if you make sure to select a lipstick that will suit your friend’s personality and aesthetic, nothing could make her happier. If she has a more natural, polished style, then a nude lipstick will work best, while if she’s a classic beauty with a fiery side, opt for a red.  If you’re still not sure, check out our guide to the meaning behind different lipstick colors, which will surely point you in the right direction.  Feutre Fin Eyeliner   Like mascara, eyeliner is another staple that gets used up with some regularity and needs replacing fairly often. Whether liquid liner is one of your friend’s staple looks or it’s something she’s still working to perfect, the Vivienne Sabó Feutre Fin eyeliner is a wonderful makeup gift. It offers the precision that makeup lovers crave but it’s easy to use so even those new to makeup will quickly get the hang of it.  Brow Arcade Eyebrow Pencil Eyebrow pencils might not be as glamorous as mascara or lipstick, but they’re still an important part of the makeup routine. For that very reason, the Brow Arcade certainly deserves a spot on our list of makeup gifts for her.  We think it works best as a gift for a friend that is very pragmatic and doesn’t care about sentimentality as much. It’s a good makeup gift that she’ll be sure to use. Just make sure to select a shade that’s a touch lighter than her hair color but with the same undertone.  Le Grand Volume Lip Gloss   Lip gloss is perfect for days out with its fun and playful look, making it an excellent summertime gift! And if you have a younger friend or family member with a playful style or who’s a little newer to makeup, lip gloss makes for the best makeup gift. It doesn’t have the intensity or maturity of lipstick. Instead, it gives the lips a youthful sheen without much color, so it’s the kind of makeup product that parents will also approve of easily.  Cabaret Première Mascara Primer  What do you give to makeup lovers that seem to own everything already? We think the Cabaret Première primer is a great choice, especially for lash enthusiasts. A lash primer helps to build a base layer of length and volume, so the lashes look extra dramatic. Most importantly, it’s the one product your friend probably doesn’t have in her arsenal yet!  Makeup gift bundle   Individual items work well as “just because” gifts for makeup lovers. However, when there’s a special occasion and you need to impress, a large, customized makeup gift set can be a wonderful gift. The key to creating a gorgeous beauty bundle is to pair products that make sense together.  For an eye-focus, put together a set of eyeliner, mascara, mascara primer, and maybe even an eyebrow pencil.   For a lip set, give your dear friend lipstick, gloss, and lip liner.  You can also customize a French beauty set with beloved staples, like red lipstick, a liquid eyeliner, and volumizing mascara.  Make sure to package everything nicely, and even consider putting it all in a makeup bag, which will become another part of the gift.  Makeup subscription A makeup subscription is one of the best makeup gifts we can think of, which is why we’ve saved it for last. It’s particularly useful if you’d like to give something to a friend who lives far away and that you don’t get to see often.  Pick a product that you know is a staple for them, like mascara, eyeliner, or brow pencil. Then, set up a subscription where they can receive a new package every few months, depending on how often they go through the specific item.  A subscription beauty gift will remind them of you periodically and cheer them up if they’re going through a hard time. That’s one of the reasons why we have this option available for all Vivienne Sabó products. L'art de faire un cadeau  In France, l'art de faire un cadeau  (the art of giving a gift) is cherished. The best gifts are personal and thoughtful. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give something meaningful—you just need to consider the person to whom you’re giving a gift.  For that friend who loves makeup, a thoughtful beauty gift is an easy choice that will show them that you know and love them.    

8 Chic Springtime Hats to Add to Your Wardrobe
April 02, 2021
8 Chic Springtime Hats to Add to Your Wardrobe

This article is dedicated to women’s spring hats, and we’ve got some beautiful types of hats for you to try out this spring! Hats can be challenging to coordinate, but not when you know what you’re doing. By the end of this article, you’ll be a pro on the types and names of hats and ready to find the perfect one to add to your spring wardrobe.  Whether you’re soaking up the sun in your garden, taking a sunset walk on the beach, spending a weekend on a yacht, or jetting off for a summer vacation, a stylish hat is a must. Not only will it complete your look, but it’ll also protect your skin from those damaging rays.  No matter what your personal style is, we have a hat on this list to suit you. Here are our favorite springtime hats for women.  Brimmed Classics To kick things off on our list of women’s spring hats, we’ve got brimmed classics. Think fedoras, boaters, and Panama styles. Anything with a classic, structured, brimmed silhouette. This shape is timeless and will instantly get you feeling like you’re on vacation! This is the perfect hat to invest in if you’re new to hats and looking for something simple yet elegant that will work with multiple outfits. How to Style It:  A classic wide-brimmed hat can be paired with pretty much anything. If you’re heading on a trip somewhere and only have space for one hat, make it this one.  It’ll look effortlessly chic paired with a white suit, a floral wrap dress, or even a pair of tailored Bermuda shorts.  For a vacation look, pair with swimwear and coverups as you please, and some lace-up leather sandals or embellished mules. Throw on some oversized shades and a woven handbag on your shoulder, and you’re ready to go.    The Bucket Hat The bucket hat is a super casual boho-style hat that has an inherently sporty and nostalgic vibe. But don’t let that put you off. High-end fashion houses like Dior and Prada have consistently shown that the bucket hat can be sexy and feminine for a perfect spring/summer look. You’ll find bucket styles in an array of fabrics, including raffia, satin, and embroidered styles. The key here is to keep things simple and minimal.  How to Style It:  To keep this look chic, stick to a neutral color palette when it comes to the rest of your outfit.  And if you want to go all-out ‘90s throwback, add a choker necklace and some platform sandals. Think TLC in their “Waterfalls” video.    Oversized Straw Hat If you’re looking for a springtime hat that makes a statement, opt for an oversized straw hat. You’ll likely have seen this accessory completing many looks of Instagram influencers as they pose by the pool or the beach. The brim is both dramatic, chic, and oh-so-glamorous.  When it comes to the size of the brim, you can go as large as you please. Many will extend past your shoulders, providing welcomed extra protection from the sun. Choose a floppy or woven brim depending on the look you prefer.  How to Style It: The oversized straw hat was made to accompany swimwear. Pair it with a classic black one-piece or high waist bikini, some designer sunnies, and one piece of your favorite gold jewelry.  The Garden Hat The Garden hat can be found in many different shapes and sizes, with wide brims, taller crowns, scalloped edges, and divine neck-tie details. Perfect for lounging in your back yard on a sunny spring day. Go for a classic neutral color or a black/white version for a more modern look.  How to Style It: This hat is perfect for creating a flirty, feminine look. Pair with your most fabulous floral dress or sarong. Add a pair of heeled sandals, and you’re ready for dinner and drinks in a flash! The Garden hat also lends itself well to city-style linen separates for a chic springtime outfit.   The Baseball Cap Baseball caps don’t have to be kept for running and working out. They’re part of every model & influencer’s off-duty look, and we can see why. They’re easy to throw on, work particularly well if you’re having a bad hair day, and add a sporty vibe to any look.  To elevate this look, opt for a designer version or a style that mixes fabrics or embroidery for extra detail.  How to Style It: Baseball caps are so versatile. Wear them on a walk, at the beach, while running errands, or even for lounging in your garden. Pair with your favorite leggings or trainers for an extra sporty vibe.  Grosgrain Band Panama Hat Meghan Markle is renowned for loving the Panama-style hat because it’s both stylish and functional. Not too big, but large enough that it shields you from the sun. Plus, it’s classic and elegant, and simple to throw on to complete your outfit.  How to Style It: Pair with denim shorts or a printed jumpsuit for a chic summer look.  Lamé Papier Hat This chic French straw hat is famous for having a black grosgrain ribbon around the brim and a metal bee detail on the side. It’s one of the trickier hat styles to pull-off, but nothing to be afraid of.  How to Style It: There’s no better time to wear this hat than at a spring or summertime garden party.  Pair with your favorite babydoll dress, a lightweight blazer loosely thrown around your shoulders, your favorite heeled sandals, and you have perfected this look! The Frayed Hat Our final hat on this list is the frayed hat. It has a lovely boho, artisanal feel that will add texture and detail to any look. Go for a floppy style for a laid-back beach look or a structured shape for a downtown vibe.  You’ll find so many variations to choose from with different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. If you’re looking to add just one hat to your wardrobe, choose something that will go with lots of outfits.  How to Style It: The frayed hat is the perfect companion for any vacation. Wear it with a monochrome swimsuit, some gold sandals, and some delicate jewelry. Looking fabulous! Are you ready to add one of these hats to your spring wardrobe?    Here comes the sun, and we can’t wait!

10 Eye Makeup Looks to Wear with a Mask
March 23, 2021
10 Eye Makeup Looks to Wear with a Mask

It looks as though face masks won’t be disappearing anytime soon thanks to Covid, which means applying lipstick falls a bit on our daily makeup list.  When you’re wearing a mask, your eyes naturally take center stage. And since half of your face is covered, it’s important to make the most of what’s on show. Fashionable masks are great, but they don’t quite measure up to the magic of makeup.  Whether you’re working from home, heading to the office, or taking care of those everyday tasks, you still want to look and feel your best. What better way to reclaim your beauty ritual than to have fun with your eye makeup when wearing a mask? Forget about putting makeup on under your mask — what you need is a killer look for your eyes. Here are our favorite eye makeup looks when wearing a mask. Voluminous lashes Take a minimalist approach to your eye makeup with voluminous lashes. Full, fluttery, and fabulous is the name of the game here. And the great news? You don’t need lash extensions or falsies to amp up the volume.  Check out our instant volume mascara — definition and volume in just one coat! Add a few extra for even more drama, depending on the look you’re going for.  Mask & match There’s a fun new mask makeup look trending right now that is all about matching your makeup to your mask. Pick a colorful, patterned mask of your choice, then experiment with creating an eye makeup look around it. For example, if you’re wearing a rainbow-colored mask, why not go for a rainbow-inspired eyeshadow theme?  There are no rules here, apart from breaking them! A neutral smokey eye An all-out smokey eye might be a little too much for a daytime look. The next best thing? A neutral smokey eye! Use a natural eyeshadow 2-3 shades lighter than your skin tone that has a bit of a shimmer to it. Apply the eyeshadow to the inner corners of your eyes to brighten your eyes and contrast with your mask. This should work with most masks as they tend to be muted in color.  Finish your look with some mascara for extra pop, and you’re good to go.  Rose gold eyeliner Who says shimmer and sparkle are just for celebrations?  Rose gold eyeliner is so on-trend right now and will add a dash of glamour and glitter to any look. There are plenty of options to choose from right now. Apply it as liberally as you like, and add some flicks to the outer edges of your eye for extra pizzazz. This mask makeup look is definitely one of our favorites! A pop of pastel If you’re a fan of playing with color and looking for something to brighten up your face, try a wash of color on your lids. All colors work with this look, but pastels are oh-so-pretty — especially during spring/summer.  Keep the rest of your makeup minimal, and allow your eyes to steal the show. If you’re not sure what color to go for, blue is a safe bet for all skin tones.  Use one solid color, a shimmery shadow, or add some depth at the crease line with a darker shade.  Cat eye When you’re wearing a mask, people’s eyes will be drawn to the center of your face. A sassy cat eye is the perfect detail to draw that attention outward and create a sexy, striking look. Have fun with your cat eye and experiment with colors and patterns. Keep it as subtle or dramatic as you like.  Periwinkle flicks Without a doubt, eye makeup when wearing a mask is a must to prevent your face from totally disappearing! But if you’re not used to braving bold eye makeup looks, a dash of colored eyeliner is a great way to ease yourself in. Don’t worry, lipstick will be back in play soon enough! But until then, why not experiment with color around your eyes? Match your eyeliner to your mask, or clash on purpose. This mask makeup look is guaranteed to play up your eyes in a big way.  Metallic magic If you want to take the rose gold eyeliner look to the next level, how about an all-out metallic eye? This makeup look is super feminine, sexy, and flattering. It’ll give your eyes that extra boost and help them pop against your mask while highlighting their natural, gorgeous shape.  Just sweep it lightly across your upper lids. Add some classic French mascara for volume, and voila!  Winged eyeliner Sometimes all you need is your favorite eyeliner to create a killer eye makeup statement. The winged eyeliner look is classic and flirty. It will flatter the natural shape of your eyes without any need for eyeshadow.  Magic, right? You’ll be ready to leave the house in five minutes! Perfect for those days when you’re short on time, or you snooze your alarm. If you have a shaky hand, try using a template or using a dot-to-dot method to keep your eyeliner symmetrical.     Sunset shadow There’s another popular eye makeup mask trend all over social media right now known as “sunset” shadow. This is all you need to jazz up a plain old mask and bring some color and adventure into your life! Pick a handful of different sunset colors, like oranges, pinks, purples, blues, yellows, golds, etc. Start with one color as a base on the lids, then layer on top to create that stunning sunset vibe.  Play around with different colors and arrangements. This look will be slightly different every time, and that’s the beauty of it.  And that’s how to wear makeup with a face mask! Just because you have to wear a mask, it doesn’t mean your makeup game has to take a hit.  Give these eye makeup looks a try and watch as they transform your face.