Unique and delightful Christmas traditions are followed in France. The centre of attraction in all homes is the Nativity scene or crèche that is decorated with cute little clay figures called 'Santons' or 'Little Saints'. These colourful little saints are a special and age old feature of Christmas in France and are prepared all round the year by skilled craftsmen in the south of France. Popular Santons include shepherds, Magi, Holy Family besides local characters and dignitaries.
In France, Christmas Tree is not so popular but it is symbolic presence can be felt in the Christmas Cake. The traditional French Christmas Cake is prepared in the shape of Yule log and is called the buche de Nol, meaning "Christmas Log". This cake is a special feature of the Le rveillon - a grand feast of the season celebrated after midnight mass on Christmas Eve
On the eve of Christmas, French children leave their shoes or wooden clogs called sabots by the fireplace so that their favorite Christ Child or Pere Noel could fill it with gifts. Children believe that Pere Noel travels with his stern disciplinarian companion Pre Fouettard, who tells Pere Noel about the behavior of each child in the past year. In some parts of France Pere Noel brings gifts for children on St. Nicholas Eve (December 6) and visits again on Christmas. In other places it is le petit Jesus who brings the gifts. Adults usually wait until New Year's Day to exchange gifts.