Have you ever felt that the holiday season would never end? In France, it's almost true! From November 1st through the first week of January, Christmas decorations and products have been on sale and on display. But that doesn't mean the season is over, because even though decorations are no longer on sale, there are lights and decorations still on display throughout the country, because the official final day for the season is January 31st.
In France, many people send holiday cards, but more often of the 'Happy New Year!' variety. Proper etiquette allows for sending cards up until January 31st . (You've still got time!) Also, from the first day of January until the last, the custom is to say "Bonne année !" to people the first time you see them that year. For friends and family, it usually happens the first week. But it doesn't stop there. You are also obliged to greet your postman and other people who provide your services, such as your auto mechanic or your apartment building's caretaker. It sometimes comes as a shock to me when I hear "Bonne année !" near the end of January. But it's a custom, and as the saying goes, "When in Rome..." (or Lyon, in this case).