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Christmas gift shopping with the French

Christmas decorations up already at Le Village Royal #Paris. Kinda early non? In Paris, stores often add extra opening hours to their schedule so everyone can have more hours to spend their cash on their friends and loved ones for the holiday gift giving frenzy. But it never seems to be enough for this conflicted hallmark-holiday-poo-pooing population. I can’t even tell you how many French people have said to me over the past decade that Christmas has been over commercialized by the USA, yet there they are squeezed in the boutiques like sardines trying to find the best deal on presents or the perfect indulgence for giving.

PayPal conducted a study about holiday consumers behavior. that gave some funny statistics : Their 2013 Holiday Shopping Study of consumers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and United States; revealed some insight on shoppers, and more specifically to our hilarity, the French shoppers.

Photo by : Zoetnet via Flickr

The study discovered top holiday shopping stress-triggers consumers and retailers can expect this season—with the number one pet peeve by two thirds of holiday shoppers globally being waiting in long lines to pay for things. Other top consumer dislikes range from holiday crowds and holiday traffic to people who push or cut in line and cranky retail cashiers. BUT, more than any other country, holiday shoppers in France are likely to:

Push ahead of others in line (22%) [Oh! Really. I had no idea that Parisians even knew how to form a line!]

Yell at store employees (17%) [More of a condescending remark I would think, that’s more the style here]

Park in spaces reserved for handicapped people (17%) [Oh yes, but this isn’t a practice used merely for holiday shopping season]

Take a hard-to-find gift from someone else’s shopping basket (7%) while holiday shopping. [This also happens during the bi-yearly sales]


Well, frankly I am not all that surprised. I have seen rue de Rivoli or rue de Rennes on a Saturday afternoon, NOT during holiday season, so I can only imagine the insanity (I avoid those areas unless absolutely necessary). All this for gifts that most, will find superfluous or (gasp!) unwanted. Why not stick to the traditional French holiday offerings : Foie gras, marrons glacés or chocolates…? Well, I suppose those can be unpersonalized, regardless of their deliciousness. (Indeed, I am certainly not opposed to all three!… hint.. hint.. wink… wink…)

Didier Fourreau - marrons glacés

Okay, so I do not want to head out to the stores to do all of my holiday shopping, so with PayPal I can do so from the comfort of my home, with the candles lit, the Christmas music playing on the ipad, a glass of wine and maybe even while getting a foot massage from Chéri, if I am lucky! I will be like 80% of consumers according to the PayPal survey : “Most (81%) consumers plan to do some of their holiday shopping on their smartphone, tablet, or online this year.
And I suppose I am staying true to my American roots in doing so because the study also finds that :

Americans lead worldwide in shopping online for the following reasons:

Watch TV while shopping (34%) [Me I’ll blog and shop]
Shop in pajamas (33%) [Uh yeah. Duh!]
Don’t have to wear makeup (16%) [Absolutely!]
Shop in underwear (16%) [No, the PJ’s]
Drink alcohol while shopping (15%) [A glass of bubbly please!]
Shop naked (11%) [Nope, still going with the PJ’s]

A comforting scent on a cold rainy Paris night. #ParfumDeMaison #candle

I don’t really have a Christmas list of my own this year. I have all that I need, and I really only want time spent with family, creating our own cheer and delicious meals to be shared together. And some snow would be nice!

Champs Elysees shopping crowds DSC01297
Photo by : Dimitris Papazimouris via Flickr

But if I could offer the gifts I really want to give to my friends and family… I would like  tooffer them things they actually wanted. How would I know what they really want? Well, I could have them create a wish list online! PayPal has launched an Xmas website featuring online wish list –

It features exclusive discounts and promotions at top retailers in France (i.e. Galaries Lafayette,, Vestiaire Collective etc.). You can either buy direct for friends and family saving some money along the way or select gift ideas for yourself which you can share with your family and friends. It’s the easy way to shop and perfect way to ensure that everyone is happily pleased on Christmas this year. There is even a charity gift that you can give in someone else’s name, so that those with much less are also thought of at the holidays.
Photo by Michael Kooiman via Flickr

Paypal put together this fun and silly video of people admitting what the worst Christmas present they ever received was. (It’s en français!)

One girl got shampoo from her aunt, another guy got a sausage, and one lady got a strange polka dot dressed doll. LOL!

What was the worst Christmas present you ever received? …Or the best?!? …Answer in the comments below…. ♥

But in all seriousness, I find this wish list a fun and easy way to holiday shop for gifts when A : you don’t have the time (moi), B : You are too sick to face the crowds (most of my colleagues at the moment) or C : You hate shopping in stores with large crowds of people who grab items out of your basket, shout at the sales people and park where they aren’t supposed to. 😉
In addition to lovely gifts, I hope you all get plenty of love, time with  family and friends, and heaps and heaps of cheer this year!!!!
*Holiday bisous de Paris*
Thanks to Paypal for making this post possible!


  1. The best Christmas gift I’ve this far received came from my husband; it was the Christmas after we’d married. He gave me a stunning (door knob-sized) sapphire ring that I’d casually commented on having seen at our jewellers. I was shocked beyond words, and he was duly rewarded!

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