« Christmas means Christmas, and we will celebrate it »
This is an excerpt from the speech of the new Majesty’s Ambassador to France – Lord Llewelynn – at the recent Christmas gala dinner at the Embassy. Not only was this (of course) a nod to the now famous phrase “Brexit means Brexit” by British Prime Minister Theresa May, but also a nice way to remind us of the importance of the Christmas truce, also called the Truce of Confectioners.
This expression goes back to 1875 when the Parliamentarians decided by common agreement to put on hold their passionate debates around the constitution of the third republic in France at the approach of Christmas. This tranquillity benefited the merchants of candy and other confectioners, hence the now consecrated expression.
And since there is a truce, I will not tell you about Brexit this time.
I just want to talk to you about Christmas, the simple word which excites children months in advance, which makes the streets and windows of most cities of the world flicker and which for many announces the end of the year and the festivities which accompany it.
Of course, the commercial aspect of Christmas is ubiquitous, too much for some but not for retailers and confectioners, and fortunately its spiritual and traditional sides are not forgotten. I particularly like the beautiful tradition of Christmas carols by our British friends.
This period is also conducive to get together with family, with friends and with all those to whom we wish our best wishes. This is such a great opportunity to express friendship and to distribute a few drops of hope in a world that needs it.
So, on behalf of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, should it be synonymous of trust and peace around you, « and let’s celebrate it »!
Olivier Campenon- President of the Franco-British Chamber