Les étrennes: A New Year Tradition in France

Les étrennes: A New Year Tradition in France

As the New Year approaches, so too does the French tradition of étrennes (surprises), in which people gift workers money as a sign of gratitude for their year of service. Workers might visit with calendars to sell, from the sapeurs-pompiers (firefighters) to postal workers.

Some people offer a month’s salary to their cleaner, or 5-10% of the monthly rent to the concierge, while €5-30 is typical for public workers such as bin workers, the fire service and postal service.

This is a long-standing tradition in France, and some workers may come to your door (non-threateningly!) and say “on vient pour les étrennes” so it’s always useful to have a bit of cash ready and some envelopes for it.

Perhaps if you follow étrennes etiquette you’ll see improved service next year!

Lead photo credit : Marco Verch

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