Learn from french: how do christmas erennes gifts work?

France from mid-December to early JanuaryNew year‘ is the time when residents reward firefighters, delivery workers and garbage collectors for their work throughout the year.

While the term traditionally has many meanings, most people associate it with this time of year. New year It may be considered rude not to give anything, as it is more of a tradition than an obligation.

I talked to the people and organizations I met. New year In addition to La Poste and apartment doormen, family members, friends and acquaintances are also informed about this tradition.

Postmen and firefighters often pass by houses

Postal workers and local firefighters are the professionals who pass by people’s homes the most at Christmas time.

La Poste press correspondent Mélanie Jeambeau said postal workers will always invite residents to purchase a calendar before January 1. But the initiative is private and postal workers are free to decide whether they want to participate.

Firefighters also typically present schedules and always dress when they call homes, but Connexion could not immediately confirm whether this was part of a protocol like La Poste.

Three interviewees said they gave the same amount to each of them, between 10 and 20 euros, often in notes. Ms Jeambeau said donations ranged from €1 to €20, but sometimes in larger amounts. The amount given depends on the individual.

“When choosing how much to give, there can be no comparison between the profession that gives the most to society,” my mother told me, rejecting the suggestion that people would give more to firefighters because mailmen save lives when they “just” deliver mail. . My mother usually gives €10.

However, my father said that due to his closer relationship with the postman, who was more tolerant at times, a hierarchy was formed between the postman and the firefighters or garbage collectors.

My aunt, who gave 20 Euros to each, said, “I give it to reward the profession rather than the person himself.”

While my aunt says she will only give change if she doesn’t have a bill, my mother prefers not to give anything other than change, interpreting this as a slightly arrogant gesture of giving some change.

Neither my mother nor my aunt, who both live in densely populated urban areas, invite postal workers or firefighters into the house for a drink or coffee.

This is the main difference between people living in villages or small towns and people living in big cities.

This was exemplified in the hit comedy film Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. New year – ‘Where two rural postmen ended their shift drunk after accepting too much drink from people.

This tradition is also more established outside the cities, as people tend to know their postman or fireman personally, whereas in many French cities they do not. This may be because residents of larger cities are more likely to have problems with scammers posing as postal workers or firefighters calling homes to ask for money.

“You have to ask which distribution center they’re affiliated with,” said Ms. Jeambeau, who provided a clue to identifying a real La Poste employee.

Read more: Beware of Christmas firefighter calendar scam, French police say

Part of the culture among janitors

Being a doorman is another profession New year from the people living in the building. Similarly, tradition is not required but appreciated. The amount of money given depends largely on location, socioeconomic environment, and individual generosity.

My grandma used to tell this to my mom New year The amounts given to doormen were calculated according to the number of square meters in the residences. Although it is a tradition among wealthy people, the idea has mostly lost its meaning and become outdated.

“Waiting has become part of the culture New year “It’s almost the same as the salary, but in reality it’s a potential bonus,” said Cyril Roger, a 30-year-old IT engineer and former doorman who covered his doorman parents’ shifts for four years in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. .

“Does not give New year This may lead the doorman to believe they have done a bad job, when in reality it may suggest many other possibilities, Mr. Roger added.

Mr Roger said he saw the amount of money raised. New year Over the course of 25 years, the salary his parents received gradually decreased from two months’ salary to one month’s salary, as the tradition was passed down less and less from generation to generation.

He divided apartment dwellers into four categories: young owners between the ages of 25 and 45 who give little or no money, older generations who give more, people who have been taught to feel a moral obligation, and the rare older people. Give nothing or very little.

About 75% of the year New year He said it collects during the two weeks before Christmas, but a small percentage of people gather in December or early January.

New year For doormen, it is usually given in envelopes. However, sometimes bottles of wine and champagne or a box of chocolates are also provided.

For the first time in his life, Mr. Roger will be the one to propose. New year instead of being a buyer this year.

“I think I’ll give my doorman €50,” he said, a significant amount of money considering his salary. “This is a moral obligation,” he added.

During New year If it is not taxed, the administration has the right to investigate where large sums of money come from.

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