Sunday, December 21, 2014

Noël now!

Speaking French while celebrating Christmas with your kids?  You'll need these sites!

Your kiddos' jaws will drop when they get a personalized video message from this jolly old elf!
Writing letters to Santa Claus is so old-fashioned, don't you think?

Well, no.  Actually, I love snail mail, but since my children love their screen time, I'm thrilled to discover this website, "Père Noël Portable," which will send a personalized video message (for free) to your child in French or in English!

You input information about the child (age, hair color, eye color), what behavior issues you wanted her to work on this year (selecting from drop-down menus of everything from "obeying your preschool teacher" to "obeying your stepmother" to "eating all your vegetables" to "going to bed on time" and so forth--and these are just the toddler options, because there are different choices for different ages), what she wants for Christmas, and so on. You can also include photos and indicate what they represent--a trip you took this year, a new arrival in the family, and so forth.

The website then puts together a video of a jolly, gentle Santa greeting your child and researching her in his "grimoire" (complete with the photos you uploaded). Santa compliments the child on her good behavior (or chastises her for not being a good girl, if you select that option) and generally says lots of Santa-riffic things.

The versions of the video letter for older children are longer and begin with a tour through an area of Santa's Workshop at the North Pole.

sample virtual Christmas card in French from Domedaire
Then, your child can write back to Santa by sending him a free e-card in French via Dromedaire!

une lettre au Père Noël
Or, challenge your 21st century child to write and mail a real letter to Santa with his adorable free printable template!  The layout is cute and the structure makes it easy to fill out--the kid checks off how well she has been behaving (from "très très sage" to "presque sage"), draws pictures of two presents she's hoping for, and even offers gift suggestions for loved ones.
Next, here's a fun resource for those of you who celebrate Christmas and speak French with your children: an online advent calendar with a song for each day! The sound quality isn't great--they are recordings from children's concerts, probably in school auditoriums--but the lyrics appear onscreen along with simple animations. And since it's a site from Québec, it also includes a song about the national dish, la tourtière!

Via that same site, you can also visit the Train de Noël, which features more songs by school choirs with onscreen lyrics and very simple animations.  Most are in French, with some bilingual ("Lumières de Noêl") and even some French translations of traditional English songs ("Promenade en traineau," for example, which we know as "Sleigh Ride").

You'd prefer to hear adults singing carols professionally?  Okay, then head over to La neige folle, a Christmas-season-only online francophone radio station (November 20-January 31), featuring holiday songs from the past 100 years.

(I meant to poke around YouTube to find some existing French holiday playlists and some clips of French children singing and celebrating Christmas, but that'll have to wait for another day!  Perhaps in the meantime someone will share their YouTube or other online resources in French about the holidays?)

The always-reliable offers a variety of high-quality Christmassy kids' activities and printables in French--recipes, crafts, songs, stories (including "Le Père Noël est en Prison"!) and other activities in French--while their parents can read the holiday activity suggestions at Vos questions des parents.  (After reading several of the stories to my kids, however, I should add that I'm underwhelmed.   But they're free!)

(I like to print out worksheets and coloring pages like this crossword puzzle and this word search and this roll-the-die coloring page, add a patterned cardstock cover, and make them into a personalized workbook for Griffin.  Our local copy shop can add a plastic spiral binding to keep them together, but staples or three-prong folders work well enough too.)

I'll close here for now--my kiddos are asleep, so I will seize the moment to wrap their presents without risk of interruption--but promise to keep adding relevant links to my "Noël pour enfants" page on Pinterest!  And would you please share your favorite French holiday resources and books in the comments below?

lots of fun French Christmas websites, in case I get more ambitious
Merry merry from Colorado!


  1. Hello,
    I am very happy to find your blog, colleague ;) I am a foreign language teacher, both French and English and I think your idea for this blog is super great. I found a lot of interesting information, so I will come back here :) Congratulations!

    1. Merci beaucoup, Olga! I'm so glad you left a comment--your blog is an amazing resource for language learners and teachers (and your pages and exercises for kids are adorable). I will be visiting your blog often!

      Do you have children yourself, and if so, which language(s) do you speak with them?