avoir des oursins dans les poches
se tromper


Joyeuses Fêtes (c) Kristin Espinasse

Does the Christmas rush "kill" the joy of the holidays? And re gift-giving, how much is too much and how little, too little? or is it all just over the top? Are we remembering the reason for the season? Read on in today's story column. 

 tuer (too-ay)

    : to kill

tuer le temps = to kill time

Reverse Dictionary

killjoy (spoilsport) = un(e) rabat-joie
to kill two birds with one stone = faire d'une pierre deux coups
to make a killing = réussir un bon coup 

Audio File: listen to our daugher, Jackie, read these French words from today's story:
Download MP3 or Download Wav

    Trop de cadeaux tuent les cadeaux.
    Too many presents kill the presents.

French christmas music
French Christmas Music: "Mon Beau Sapin", "Sainte Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant". 
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Jackie got a head start on the holiday season by drawing up her liste de voeux in November. Since, she has taken every opportunity to remind us onetime Santas just what it is she would like for Noël.

I think that reciting her Christmas list gives our girl as much joy as the items listed on it will one day give her.

"Jackie," I tease, "What was it you said you wanted for Christmas?" I watch my 14-year-old's face light up as I listen to the familiar rundown.

Despite her seeming greed for the gift-giving season, there are only four items on Jackie's list: one costs nothing (our daughter is asking for a certain droit—hint, read her bilingual post on the subject), though another item seems a bit pricey!

Because I doubt she will get everything on her list, I ask Santa's darling to write down a few more wishes for us clueless Père Noëls. Instead, she bowls me over with this response.

"Trop de cadeaux tuent les cadeaux!

Comment? Have I heard my daughter correctly?  Did she just say that "too many presents kill the presents?"

My mind calls forth a parade of images in which children are ripping open brightly wrapped boxes only to quickly push them aside and reach for more gifts. Did they even see what was in the box? one wonders. Perhaps they did... and the joy and the fun are simply in opening the presents?

Or perhaps trop de cadeaux tuent les cadeaux as Jackie sees itI am so moved by this most recent leap toward maturity that I want to buy my daughter everything on her list and then some... but wouldn't this be defeating the purpose?

Let's see, what was the purpose?... (Perhaps I should add "memory recall" to my own Wish List?) Oh, yes: gift-giving and the balance between underdoing it and overdoing it. As we ask ourselves this question this holiday season, let's not lose sight of the greater picture: Love, Joy, Peace, and Forgiveness—these are among the greatest gifts of all. I think I'll take my daughter's example, and recite them—like a cherished Liste de Voeux—at every chance. More than that, I'm going to wrap them up right now, in the biggest most glittery box, and send them off to you... Joyeuses Fêtes


Le Coin Commentaires
Love, joy, peace... what to add to this list? What would you like to wish others this season? Leave your wish in the comments box. You might also share your gift-giving philosophy and any thoughts you are having this time of year. Merci beaucoup!


On a grammar note, Jackie tells me that the expression she shared was inspired by the following popular expression: trop de... tue/tuent le/la...  Some examples are:

Trop de travail tue le travail (too much works kills the work) 

Trop de gâteaux tuent le gâteau (too much cake kills the cake)

Trop d'amusement tuent l'amusement (too much fun kills fun)


French Vocabulary

la liste de voeux = wish list

le Noël = Christmas

le droit = right

le Père Noël = Santa Claus

comment = what's that? what did you say?

Joyeuses Fêtes = Happy Holidays


Maybe the question is not "how much to give?" but rather, "How can I help?" In front of one of Paris's soup kitchens, the sign reads reads, simply: "Help us if you can".

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