I've always thought that Christmas is by far the most romantic holiday, ideally full of love, giving, friendship, family and magical hope. It's the one time of year that I think I'd rather be in New York than anywhere else. There is an astounding energy that sweeps through the city once the twinkling lights start going up about town. In Paris there are lights and trees, and the cheesy Christmas market down the Champs Elysées, which I will always adore for the simple fact that you are allowed to walk down the street with open containers of hot wine. However, as one of my French acquaintances was saying, there isn't quite the same buzz as there is in New York. Almost the entire ten years I lived there, I worked in either restaurants or retail during the craziest of all seasons, true hypocrisy abounding with every tinsel-toed step. Madison avenue elitists who would literally jump in front of a line of people going out the door to demand why he wasn't being helped, or fevered Christmas party goers screaming as if their life depended on it because they had to wait twenty minutes for their reservation on a Saturday night. The amount of times that I seriously considered asking them to sit down and write me a list of the most important things in their life, taking care to note whether things like family, children, or oxygen were ranked before eating a $50 steak in a timely fashion. I don't get the sense that Parisians have quite the same intense hysteria that New Yorkers do, though I also haven't walked right into the busiest restaurant in town on a Saturday night during December either. In Paris, however, there is generally no wait list. You can be seated, potentially stand in line, or be told a definitive no, whereas in New York they prefer to make you wait for 2 hours so the rush never dies, keeping it all open after Radio City and Broadway lets out for that final merry push. Still, there was nothing better than wielding the power from the other side, managing a crowd several people deep while Mariah Carey's Christmas album wailed in the background, simultaneously wanting to throw things at the wavering crowd while also totally getting off on the holiday euphoria.
On the other hand, there's something much more quietly idyllic about the Parisian Christmas spirit. I don't think I will ever be a subtle or subdued person, it's really not at all (even remotely a little bit) part of my charm. But as you walk through the frosted streets and peer into café windows to see glasses of red wine in cozy corners, you can't help but want to be in love during a time of year where nothing else should matter.